Using data from the World Values Survey and the European Values Study, we compare the trends of materialism over the last quarter of century among the US and six major European countries: France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Great Britain and Sweden. We use the definition of materialism adopted by positive psychologists. We find that the trends in Europe and in the US diverged. In the US materialism increased, while in Europe it decreased. However, some mixed patterns arise. In particular, Great Britain, Spain and Sweden showed some symptoms of an increase of materialistic values, although they were far less pronounced compared to the American ones. As far as the levels of materialism are concerned, it is interesting that, according to most of our measures, Americans were relatively less materialistic at the beginning of our period of observation. Yet, towards the end of the period they scored very high in the ranking of materialism in our sample of countries.
Social Indicators Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 15, 2016
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