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Culture Matters: National Cultures of Ethno-Religious-Immigrant Prejudice Stimulate Individual Attitudes to an Important but Limited Extent
AdvisorEvans, Mariah D. R.
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Despite several strong, well-developed theories, scholars have yet to determine the extent to which national culture influences individual attitudes. In particular, the influence of culture on prejudice has been neglected in comparative, cross-national research. This paper closes that research gap by analyzing the impact of national cultures of prejudice in one period on individual-level prejudice in a subsequent period. Multilevel analyses of pooled data from the World Values Survey and European Values Study (WVS/EVS) show that adding cultural prejudice to a baseline model of the “usual suspects” for influencing prejudice results in a strong standardized regression coefficient of 0.213 and increases R2 from 0.031 to 0.079. Neither the individual-level variables nor the macro-level socioeconomic variable has nearly so strong an effect. This finding supports the hypothesis that culture matters independently, although not as strongly as predicted by dominant ideology and hegemony hypotheses. Moreover, effects previously ascribed to the direct influence of other variables, notably GDP in post-materialist theory, may, in fact, be mediated through culture. Temporal priority, combined with conceptual validity and a wide array of controls for other potential influences, makes a strong (although not certain) case for a causal connection.