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<p>Empirical tests of Schwartz’s theory of cultural value priorities have predominantly been performed using an averaging approach–as values of the average individual in a culture. However, from a theory of measurement standpoint such an approach seems inadequate. We argue that the averaging approach is an insufficiently accurate methodology in capturing the compatibilities-incompatibilities between values of individuals within cultures. We propose an approach based on the distribution of values of individuals in a given culture–the distribution approach. Using data from two rounds of the European Social Survey, we show how frequencies of specific individual value priorities in a culture can be used towards the description of culture-level value preferences. We recommend a re-conceptualization of Schwartz’s culture-level value theory to an orthogonal two-dimensional structure, namely as Preservation vs. Alteration and Dominance vs. Amenability, which we explain based on heterogeneity in macro-social worries across countries.</p>
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