Human Values and Trust in Institutions across Countries: A Multilevel Test of Schwartz's Hypothesis of Structural Equivalence

Davide Morselli, Dario Spini, Thierry Devos


The goal of this article was to show how structural equation modelling associated to multilevel regressions represents a powerful tool to examine innovative cross-cultural research questions. The relationship between values and trust in institutions was investigated in four cross-cultural datasets: three were students and teacher samples; the last was a general sample from the 2005 World Values Survey (WVS). The hypothesis of equivalence of the structure of relations between values and trust in institutions (sinusoid curve hypothesis) was tested with a series of multilevel multiple indicators and multiple causes models with random slopes. Structural equivalence was confirmed for student samples, but not for the general sample. The between-country variance of the relationship between values and trust in the general sample was partially explained by country level differences in socio-economic wealth and quality of governance.


values; trust in institutions; multilevel structural equation modelling; World Values Survey

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