Value Orientations and Cooperation

This project under the Direction of Prof. Christian Welzel and Prof. Christian Thöni (University of St. Gallen) analyzes the link between individuals’ value orientations and their cooperative behavior. Involving the conduct of 2,000 face-to-face interviews, it takes place within the framework of the sixth round of the World Values Survey (WVS).

The WVS investigates cross-national and inner-societal differences in social, economic, and political values worldwide. Having been conducted five times between 1981 and 2008, it also enables researchers to trace cultural change over time. The WVS is the most-widely used cross-national comparative survey project. The research project “Value Orientations and Cooperation” involves the conduct of the latest, sixth round of the WVS in Germany. Apart from continuing this important time series, it puts a new focus on the relationship between values and cooperation. Voluntary cooperation is a key issue for the functioning of individualized modern societies and various theories suggest that values shape cooperation. Yet, the connection between values and cooperation is rarely analyzed. In order to do so, one needs to link survey data with observational data. For this reason, the sixth round of the WVS invites respondents to participate in an online version of a standard cooperation game that has been tried and tested in behavioral economics. The aim is to find out how certain values that have been on the rise in Germany and other postindustrial societies affect cooperation and what external conditions ease the translation of these values into cooperation.