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The Preadult Origins of Post-Materialism: A Longitudinal Sibling Study


  • Martin Kroh


Using a research design that traces siblings' preferences for postmaterialistic values in Germany over two decades, this paper provides new evidence on the origins of value preferences. Focusing on Inglehart's thesis of value change, we test the combined socialization and scarcity hypothesis against the social learning hypothesis, a prominent rival account of preadult value preference formation. Sibling estimates show that the shared preadult environment does indeed exert lasting effects on the permanent component of preferences for post-materialistic policies. In addition to weak effect of the shared experience of socioeconomic scarcity, we find that the intergenerational transmission of postmaterialism - which is disregarded by Inglehart's original thesis - plays a significant role in value preference acquisition. We discuss the implications of our individual-level findings for forecasts of aggregate-level trends in value change.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Kroh, 2008. "The Preadult Origins of Post-Materialism: A Longitudinal Sibling Study," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 797, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp797

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    Cited by:

    1. Kevin Deegan-Krause & Zsolt Enyedi, 2010. "Agency and the Structure of Party Competition: Alignment, Stability and the Role of Political Elites," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 9, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).

    More about this item


    Value preferences; postmaterialism; sibling estimates; intergenerational transmission; hierarchical regression modeling;

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities

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