Conservation Motivation, Social Equality and Left-Right Ideological Preferences in Western and Eastern Europe

Márton Hadarics


We investigated how attitudes towards social equality can influence the relationship between conservation motivation (or openness) and personal ideological preferences on the left-right dimension, and how this relationship pattern differs between Western and Central & Eastern European (CEE) respondents. Using data from the European Social Survey (2012) we found that individual-level of conservation motivation reduces cultural egalitarianism in both the Western European and the CEE regions, but its connection with economic egalitarianism is only relevant in the CEE region where it fosters economic egalitarianism. Since both forms of egalitarianism were related to leftist ideological preferences in Western Europe, but in the CEE region only economic egalitarianism was ideologically relevant, we concluded that the classic “rigidity of the right” phenomenon is strongly related to cultural (anti)egalitarianism in Western Europe. At the same time, conservation motivation serves as a basis for the “rigidity of the left” in the post-socialist CEE region, in a great part due to the conventional egalitarian economic views.


conservation; openness; social equality; left-right; ideology; European Social Survey

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