Arnold Kling

Values and Prosperity

Arnold Kling, Great Questions of Economics
Previous Entry Next Entry

Some recent blog activity constitutes distributed analysis of data. One result is Alan K. Henderson's post on the relationship between values and economic freedom.

Almost all of the "free" nations favor self-expression values. ALL of the "repressed" nations favor survival values.

The definitions of these two value poles come from the University of Michigan's "world values survey."

[survival values are that] economic and physical security are more important than self-expression. People who cannot take food or safety for granted tend to dislike foreigners, homosexuals and people with AIDS. They are wary of any form of political activity, even signing a petition. And they think men make better political leaders than women. “Self-expression” values are the opposite.

Discussion Question. How would you sort out causality among the economic freedom index, "self-expression values," and prosperity? Which way do you think that the causality arrows run?

Return to top