Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 1996

Comparative Analysis of Values and Political Trust: Data Analysis of World Values Studies I and II

Main discipline: Political Science
Lecturers: Professor Oddbj�rn Knutsen and Professor Ola Listhaug
Institutions: University of Oslo, Norway, and University of Trondheim (NTNU), Norway
Dates: 5 - 9 August, 1996

The first part of the course addresses conceptual and theoretical issues related to public opinion with particular focus in political support and legitimacy. Problems of measurement, and explanations of various aspects of trust in government are reviewed, and findings about confidence levels over time, between nations, and over different types of institutions are discussed. Various data sources will be focused upon explicitly, and the relevant questions in the World Values Surveys will be discussed in particular.

The second part of the course takes up the discussion about political value change in advanced industrial societies and its causes and consequences. Theories and empirical findings about political value orientations and value change are the central themes. Three sets of value orientations are focused upon, namely religious/secular, left-right materialist and materialist/post-materialist value orientations. It is focused on constraint between various items intended to tap the respective orientations, trends in distributions over time and in a comparative setting, and socio-structural antecedents of each of these sets of orientations. Political consequences of value priorites are discussed.In addition to discussing indicators of various value orientations in the 1990-91 World Values Survey, the course provide some overview of indicators in other comparative data sets.

In order to participate in the course, it is necessary to have basic knowledge of SPSS for Windows. In addition to lectures, data analysis of the 1990-91 World Values Survey is a part of the course. Data facilities will be available for students to do analysis based in this data set. There will also be computer staff from the Norwegian Social Science Data Services available for afternoon computer sessions and for assistance with data sets and technical matters.

This course comprises two parts:


Supplementary readings


First Lecture: The Conceptualisation and Measurement of Public Opinion

Second Lecture: Explaining public Opinion: Social Psychology and Rational Choice

Third lecture: Conceptualization and Dimensions of Political Support

Fourth and fifth lecture: Trust in Government: Theory and Empirical Evidence

Sixth lecture: Introduction. Briefly about the value concept. Religious/secular value orientations.

Seventh lecture: Left-Right materialist orientations. Introduction about materialist/post- materialist value orientations

Inglehart (1990: 248-258; 289-300; Knutsen (1995a), Goldthorpe (1982); Lafferty & Knutsen (1984).

Eighth lecture: The debate about value change and the materialist/post-materialist value orientations

Ninth and tenth lecture: The impact of values with particular focus on the impact on party choice