Slides (in German) for a talk I gave at the University of Zurich on the idea of a European set of value priorities. While preferences are very similar across Europe, with universalism and benevolence coming out top and self-enhancement ranking low, security is crucial for the post-communist societies in Central & Eastern Europe. I further claim that this finding is not driven by economic disparities. This is an update to and extension of my chapter on the notion of a European community of shared values. Somewhat ironically, the preliminary results from the 2012 wave of the ESS were published on the day I gave that talk, so I should go back to the drawing board soon.
Like social networks, multilevel data structures are everywhere once you start thinking about it. People live in neighbourhoods, neighbourhoods are nested in municipalities, which make up provinces – well, you get the picture. Even if we have no substantive interest in their effects, it often makes sense to control for structures in our data to get more realistic standard errors.
Now the good folks over at the European Social Survey have reacted and spent the Descartes Prize money on compiling multilevel information and merging them with their own data. So far, the selection is a little bit disappointing in some respects. Homicide rates, for instance, are reported on the national level only. But there are some pleasant surprises (I guess due to Eurostat, who collect such things): We get unemployment, GDP growth and even student numbers at the NUTS-3 level. Since you asked, NUTS is the Nomenclature of (subnational) Territory, and level 3 is the lowest level for which comparative data are normally published.
Regrettably, the size and number of level 3 units is not necessarily comparable across countries: For Germany, level 3 corresponds to about 400 local government districts, while France is divided into 96 European Departments. But if you need to combine top-notch survey data with small(ish) regional data, it’s a start, and not a bad one.
If you are interested in the distribution of value orientations within Europe (Western, Central, Eastern), and if you read German (I know that is a lot to ask for), this chapter draft might be of interest (PDF). The final version will appear in Silke I. Keil/Jan W. van Deth (Eds.): Deutschlands Metamorphosen. Einheit und Differenzen in europäischer Perspektive. Nomos: Baden-Baden, 2011. And yes, I do realise that this provides a somewhat ironic corollary to my previous post on the potential futility of political culture research.