Last week, Tilburg University organized Night University. A unique event to give back to society. The Dutch team of the European Values Study was evidently present, as the theme of the evening was “Back to the Future“. Pictures on Instagram below show that this theme was quite visible on campus: the organization were even able to get their hands on a few DeLorean time machine cars!
Because of the theme, we decided to present on the question whether younger people these days have become more conservative – i.e. less postmaterialist – than age cohorts decades back. At least in the US, this concerns seem to be widely shared, not in the least because since the election of Donald Trump. After crunching several waves of the EVS, we showed that young people show, generally, more postmaterialistic values than the same cohorts several decades ago. There is, however, one difference. On the so-called Inglehart materialist-postmaterialist survey items, there is a shift towards more materialist responses. As we are presently collecting new EVS-data, we can update in a few months whether this shift towards materialism among younger age cohorts was an anomaly, or whether value change has been initiated already one decade ago.