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The Index of Emancipative Values: Measurement Model Misspecifications

  • BORIS SOKOLOV (a1)
Abstract

This article reports evidence of misspecification of the measurement model for the index of emancipative values, a value construct used as a key explanatory variable in many important contributions to political science. It shows that the scale on which the index is measured is noninvariant across cultural zones and countries in the World Values Survey. In addition, it demonstrates that the current index composition mixes different value dimensions and their actual associations with various political outcomes, in particular the index of effective democracy. However, an analysis using a novel approximate Bayesian approach shows that at least one specific subdimension of emancipative values, known as pro-choice values, truly exists and may be validly measured and compared cross-nationally. The article also contributes to the recent discussion on whether emancipative values are a reflective or a formative construct by providing thought experiments and empirical evidence supporting the former interpretation.

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Corresponding author
Boris Sokolov is a Research Fellow at the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research and an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, St. Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Humanities, National Research University Higher School of Economics, 55 Sedova Street, 190068 St. Petersburg, Russian Federation (bssokolov@gmail.com).
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I thank Christian Welzel, Eduard Ponarin, Peter Schmidt, Maksim Rudnev, and Yegor Lazarev, as well as the members of the research seminar at the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, Higher School of Economics, for comments on earlier drafts and fruitful discussions. I am also very grateful to the editor, Kenneth Benoit, and four anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. Finally, I thank Alexei Stephenson for proofreading the manuscript. The study was prepared within the framework of the Basic Research Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) and supported within the framework of a subsidy by the Russian Academic Excellence Project ‘5-100’.

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