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Title: A machine learning model of cultural change: role of prosociality, political attitudes, and Protestant work ethic
Authors: Sheetal, Abhishek
Savani, Krishna
Keywords: Business::Management
Issue Date: 2021
Source: Sheetal, A. & Savani, K. (2021). A machine learning model of cultural change: role of prosociality, political attitudes, and Protestant work ethic. American Psychologist, 76(6), 997-1012.
Journal: American Psychologist
Abstract: What attitudes, values, and beliefs serve as key markers of cultural change? To answer this question, we examined 221,485 respondents from the World Values Survey, a multiwave cross-country survey of people's attitudes, values, and beliefs. We trained a machine learning model to classify respondents into seven waves (i.e., periods). Once trained, the machine learning model identified a separate group of 24,611 respondents' wave with a balanced accuracy of 77%. We then queried the model to identify the attitudes, values, and beliefs that contributed the most to its classification decisions, and therefore, served as markers of cultural change. These included religiosity, social attitudes, political attitudes, independence, life satisfaction, Protestant work ethic, and prosociality. Although past research in cultural change has discussed decreasing religiosity and increasing liberalism and independence, it has not yet identified Protestant work ethic, political orientation, and prosociality as values relevant to cultural change. Thus, the current research points to new directions for future research on cultural change that might not be evident from either a deductive or an inductive approach. This research illustrates that the abductive approach of machine learning, which focuses on the most likely explanations for an outcome, can help generate novel insights. Public Significance Statement: This research found that in recent years, people around the world have been becoming less religious and more liberal in their social attitudes and political orientation. People have been valuing independence more, although there appears to be a decline in the value of independence in the last few years. The extent to which people emphasize hard work, thrift, and prosociality has also declined in recent years.
ISSN: 0003-066X
DOI: 10.1037/amp0000868
Schools: Nanyang Business School 
Rights: © 2021 American Psychological Association. All rights reserved.
Fulltext Permission: none
Fulltext Availability: No Fulltext
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