Monday, January 05, 2015

Cultural Groupings Show Up in the World Values Survey

The Ingelhart-Welzel Cultural Map of the World.
(NB: the green cluster in the center of the map is unmarked, but is labeled South Asian.)

This is an old graph that still carries a lot of information, that has shown up in a new publication.
Using data from the World Values Survey (WVS), professors Ronald Inglehart of the University of Michigan and Christian Welzel of Leuphana University created this amazing Cultural Map of the World...... 
According to WVS, traditional values (the bottom of the y-axis) emphasize religion, traditional family values, parent-child ties, and nationalism. Those with these values tend to reject abortion, euthanasia, and divorce. On the other hand, those with secular rational values (the top of the y-axis) place less preference on religion and traditional authority, and are more accepting of abortion and divorce. 
The x-axis tracks survival values versus self-expression values. Survival values emphasize economic and physical security and are linked with ethnocentrism and low levels of tolerance. Self-expression values, according to WVS, "give high priority to environmental protection, growing tolerance of foreigners, gays and lesbians and gender equality, and rising demands for participation in decision-making in economic and political life."
It is a useful reminder that cultures are different, and people of different cultures really do have different values. One of the problems with foreign aid is that people from one culture (typically on the right hand side of the figure shown) are designing projects and giving funds to meet the (perceived) needs of people of another culture (typically from the lower or left side of the figure).

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