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Post-Materialism in an Environment of Insecurity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 August 2014

Ronald Inglehart*
University of Michigan


This article tests the hypothesis that postwar affluence led to an intergenerational shift from Materialist to Post-Materialist values among Western publics, and analyzes the consequences of the economic uncertainty prevailing since 1973. The young emphasize Post-Materialist values more than the old. Time-series data indicate that this reflects generational change far more than aging effects, but that the recession of the mid-1970s also produced significant period effects. As Post-Materialists aged, they moved out of the student ghetto and became a predominant influence among young technocrats, contributing to the rise of a “New Class.” They furnish the ideologues and core support for the environmental, zero-growth and antinuclear movements; and their opposition to those who give top priority to reindustrialization and rearmament constitutes a distinctive and persisting dimension of political cleavage.

Research Article
Copyright © American Political Science Association 1981

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