Twenty-Five Years of Materialism: Do the US and Europe Diverge?

Twenty-Five Years of Materialism: Do the US and Europe Diverge? 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Indicators Research Springer Journals

Twenty-Five Years of Materialism: Do the US and Europe Diverge?

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Social Sciences; Sociology, general; Quality of Life Research; Microeconomics; Public Health; Human Geography; Quality of Life Research
ISSN
0303-8300
eISSN
1573-0921
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11205-016-1381-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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.

Journal

Social Indicators ResearchSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 15, 2016

References

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