Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ronald Inglehart


Ronald Inglehart was born on September 5, 1934 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the United States of America. He studied at Northwestern University (B.A. in 1956) and the University of Chicago (M.A. in 1962; PhD in 1967).

He has taught for Political Science at the University of Michigan since 1967. In addition, he worked as a visiting professor at various universities around the world, such as the University of Geneva, the University of Kyoto, the Academia Sinica in Taipei, the Research Center of Berlin, and the University of Rome. In the 1970s, Professor Inglehart published his internationally acclaimed Theory of Value Change, in which he postulates that social changes – such as increasing economic wealth, greater educational opportunities, better access to information, a more refined social network, and stable international political systems – distinctly reshape the value preferences of society. As a result of this new system of values Inglehart showed people take material wealth for granted and therefore give higher priority to realizing immaterial values. This is why people living in industrialized countries increasingly represent new value orientations, focussing more on individual freedom and self-realization as well as unconventional social commitment and high living standards. This value change has a lasting effect on social and political processes of modernization in Western industrialized countries.

Inglehart’s significant monographies The Silent Revolution (1977) and Modernization and Postmodernization (1977) have been translated into numerous languages and are counted among the standard works in the field of social sciences. At the beginning of the 1980s, Inglehart started to apply his concept of value change and modernization to other parts of the world. In 1988, he and an elect number of colleagues created the World Values Survey, a publicly accessible database compiling survey data collected from nearly one hundred nations all over the world. On the basis of this data Inglehart developed his renowned “cultural map of the world” which has been cited in all major works in the fields of political science, sociology, psychology, and anthropology. Ronald Inglehart is one of the five most cited scholars in the field of social sciences worldwide.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been appointed Honorary Doctor of the Universities of Uppsala and Brussels. In 2011, he and his colleague Pippa Norris from Harvard University were awarded the Johan Skytte Prize of the University of Uppsala in Sweden.