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Social and psychological consequences of economic and cultural change: cross-cultural analysis

Priority areas of development: economics
Head: Breugelmans, Seger, Lebedeva, Nadezhda

Goal of research: to study the socio-psychological consequences of economic and cultural change.

Methodology: socio-psychological survey, expert interviews, behavioral methods (“Ultimatum”, “Dictator”, and “Resource Management” games)

Empirical base of research:

  1. The results of a survey of 118 Russian families (parents and children) living in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic and 109 Russian families living in the Republic of North Ossetia – Alania. The total sample size was 454 respondents.

  2. The results of a survey in Latvia (Riga). The sample included representatives of 112 Russian families, the total sample size was 224 people.

  3. The results of a survey of 194 representatives of the nationalities of the North Caucasus (Chechens and Ingush), 200 Tuvinians from Tuva Republic and 399 Russians from Moscow and Novokuznetsk. Total number was 793 people.

  4. Online data (“Qualtrics” Online Survey Software) survey of the inhabitants of Russia, Latvia, Germany and France. Total number was 705 people.

  5. Survey data from non-poor (N = 100) and poor (N = 103) people. The poor participants were recruited in social welfare centers.

  6. Data from a representative survey conducted in 2012 at the Central and North Caucasian Federal districts of Russia. We analyzed data of 855 respondents from the Central Federal district and data of 106 respondents from Chechnya.

  7. Online surveys data of people living in USA and the Netherlands (N = 6092), involving the participants of the LISS panel (www.lissdata.nl).

Results of research:

1) Value transmission. It was shown that religious identity of Russian teenagers in Kabardino-Balkaria was a predictor of the similarity values of parents and children, while perceived psychological closeness of teenagers with parents was negatively related to value similarity of parents and children. In North Ossetia predictors of value similarity of parents and children were religious identity of parents and perceived psychological closeness of adolescent with a parent. It was also revealed that psychological closeness of children and parents significantly related to life satisfaction and self-esteem of children; however value similarity of children and parents was negatively related to psychological well-being of children, whereas value similarity with peers is positively associated with psychological well-being of adolescents.

2) Values and implicit theories of innovativeness. In this study we: (1) identified “individual” and “social” implicit theories of innovativeness; (2) identified mediating role of such theories in the relationships of Openness to change values and Conservation values and attitudes to innovation; (3) identified differences in the mediating models of interaction between values and attitudes towards innovations among the representatives of traditional and modern types of cultures.

3) Cross-cultural study of relationships between values, trust and attitudes towards corruption. We identified a number of universal, repeated patterns in 4 of the countries studied (Russia, France, Germany, Latvia). It was found that trust had an effect on attitude towards corruption only as characteristic of socio-psychological climate in the society, but had no effect on the individual level. Personal values – Power-Dominance, Conformity-Rules and Universalism-Concern – had a statistically significant effect on the acceptability of corruption in all the countries studied. Power-Dominance values were positively related to the acceptability of corruption, while other values were related negatively.

4) Psychological consequences of poverty. We found significant differences in poor and non-poor people in individual psychological characteristics of three levels: subjective well-being (self-esteem), motivation (self-efficacy and individual values) and decision making (self-control). In addition, we concluded that all indicators of poverty except income (relative deprivation, subjective socioeconomic status, economic status in childhood) have high predictive power in explaining the differences in psychological characteristics of poor and non-poor people.

5) Relationships between value congruence and subjective well-being. The results showed significant positive relationships between the value congruence of the individual and groups of people with similar socio-demographic characteristics and life satisfaction; moderating role of Self-Direction values; greater level of life satisfaction among younger, more educated and more religious people; as well as dependence of life satisfaction on Conformity-Interpersonal and Face values.

6) New psychological scale – Dispositional Greed Scale (DGS) consisting of 7 items – were developed. Conducted research allowed making conclusions about construct and discriminant validity of this scale. DGS allows to predict economic behavior of a person: greedy people left more money to themselves in the “Dictator” game (study 3, N=300) and in the “Ultimatum” game (study 4, N=603) and took more in resource allocation dilemmas (study 5, N=305). Research clarifies the nature and function of greed, individual differences in greed and ways to measure greed.

Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results. The results of the research can be used in the content of such courses as economic psychology, cross-cultural management, cross-cultural psychology, methodology of cross-cultural studies and similar courses taught in Russian and English. Methodological and theoretical research results can be used in management and civil service organization in the development of recruitment programs, in particular, to assess employee’s attitude toward corruption and readiness for prosocial behavior.

Scope of application of the results. The research results can be applied: in assessing and forecasting an impact of social and economic reforms; in developing and evaluating the effectiveness of programs stimulating innovative activity; in assessing consequences of reforms on vulnerable groups; in predicting attitudes of people toward steps aimed at countering corruption and assessing their efficiency; in predicting and assessing readiness for prosocial behavior.


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