Attitudinal Polarization Measurement Through (Ordered) Latent Class Analysis: An Application to Self-Expression Values and the Losers of Modernization Thesis
87 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2015 Last revised: 30 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 28, 2017
This paper presents a new approach to the measurement of attitudinal polarization for cross-national or repeated cross-sectional studies. The proposed approach has two stages. First, Latent Class Analysis (LCA) is used to identify a categorical latent construct underlying a set of observed items. According to the best LCA solution, class membership is assigned for each individual. Then, a broad family of categorical polarization indices may be applied to the identified latent scale in respect to any grouping variable of interest. The data from the 4th wave of the European Values Study are used to measure polarization between survival and self-expression values in 28 European countries. The resulting scores are used to investigate an association between values polarization and support for anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim prejudices. It is found that (a) among the most developed EU states polarization positively correlates with the aggregate-level spread of prejudices, and (b) individual value orientations align stronger with prejudices in polarized countries.
Keywords: values, polarization measurement, latent class analysis, order-constrained LCA, losers of modernization
JEL Classification: C38, Z00, Z13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation