Economic well-being and self-placements on a left-right scale: Evidence from undergraduate students in seven countries

Esposito, Lucio and Theuerkauf, Ulrike (2021) Economic well-being and self-placements on a left-right scale: Evidence from undergraduate students in seven countries. Journal of Political Ideologies. ISSN 1356-9317

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Despite its conceptual and empirical ambiguities, the Left-Right distinction of political preferences is a widely used tool in academic debates on voting and party behaviour, coalition formation and political culture. In a novel contribution to scholarship on the social construction of ideological identities, we investigate the context-dependent nature of the association between different conceptualizations of economic well-being and political orientations along a Left-Right scale. Our theoretical framework distinguishes economic well-being into a materialist and post-materialist dimension, and derives its hypotheses from Social Modernization Theory. Using multivariate analyses with original survey data from 3,449 undergraduate students in Bolivia, Brazil, Italy, Kenya, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK, our results show clear patterns and large effect sizes in the association between respondents’ macro-economic context and their micro-level ideological orientations. In non-high-income countries, respondents’ Left-Right self-placements correlate with a materialist conceptualization of economic well-being, which centres on assessments of their family’s real-life economic status. In high-income countries, by contrast, respondents’ Left-Right self-placements are associated with a post-materialist conceptualization of economic well-being that is based on normative judgements about inequality aversion.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: geography, planning and development,political science and international relations,sdg 10 - reduced inequalities ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3305
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2021 01:46
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2022 03:15
DOI: 10.1080/13569317.2021.2003974

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