Friday, April 27, 2018

Them vs. us

In 2013, the ISSP survey on National Identity asked people how they felt about the statement:  "International organizations are taking away too much power from the [name of nation] government" (1-5, higher numbers indicating disagreement).  I regressed responses on education separately for each nation and computed predicted values for lowest and highest levels of education (no formal schooling and graduate degree).  A plot of the predicted values for the highest level vs. GDP shows a strong relationship:  the higher the GDP, the more likely people are to disagree:

 For the opinions of people at the lowest educational level vs. GDP, there is no clear relationship:  the correlation is negative (about -.3) but not statistically significant.  Controlling for GDP, there is a national effect that applies to both levels.  General disagreement is highest in the Philippines, Iceland, United States, Germany, and Japan; general agreement is highest in Spain, Portugal, Latvia, the Czech Republic, India, and Denmark.  Although it's not possible to measure exactly, the rankings seem to have some connection to the actual power of international organizations over the nation in question.  For example, economic policy in Spain and Portugal was strongly constrained by the EU after the recession of 2008. 

However, the main conclusion is that there is a common pattern in which educated people are more likely to disagree (that is the case in all 33 nations), but the size of the gap increases with GDP (a correlation of over 0.7). 

Note:  I used GDP from 1995, on the grounds that general national vs. international orientation is likely to be set early in life, and 1995 is roughly the youth of the average voter. 

Note 2:  In an article published in 2003, I found that for many opinions, education had the same direction of effect in almost all nations, but that the magnitude grew with GDP.  This is another case of that kind of pattern. 

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