The Dimensionality of Postmaterialism: An Application of Factor Analysis to Ranked Preference Data

S. Saccbi
1998 European Sociological Review  
Previous research indicates that the measurement instrument for postmaterialist value-orientations is not one-dimensional, as Inglehart assumed. Instead, it seems to capture three independent dimensions suggesting an interpretation based on Habermas's theory of a 'colonization' of the lifeworld. In particular, the dimensions seem to catch different political potentials provoked by the penetration of the lifeworld by the econo-administrative complex. Two questions raised by these findings are
more » ... ressed. First, they are based on a special measurement model for ranked preference data with largely unknown properties -thus, the model's ability to uncover the dimensional structure of Inglehart's instrument can be questioned. Second, the interpretation referring to Habermas requires that the dimensions are basically identical throughout advanced industrial countries and approximately stable over time. In this respect, the earlier findings are inconclusive. Results suggest that the measurement model accurately estimates number and structure of the latent dimensions implied by a set of rankings. In addition, the claim that Inglehart's instrument captures several independent and approximately identical dimensions in different industrial countries is confirmed with respect to Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. Results also indicate that the dimensions are stable within countries. O Oifbrd Univcraicy Pretj 1998
doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.esr.a018232 fatcat:5nn52s5frrdz3eolihaffjuun4