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An age-old question: Are relationships between age and political attitudes a consequence of life cycle or cohort-replacement effects?

Bean, Clive S. (2005) An age-old question: Are relationships between age and political attitudes a consequence of life cycle or cohort-replacement effects? In Social Change in the 21st Century, 28 October 2005, QUT Carseldine, Brisbane.

Abstract

Researchers observing associations between age and political attitudes have frequently puzzled over what such relationships mean. Do they reflect aging or political maturation processes that occur over the life cycle or do they reflect differences between age cohorts or political generations? Cross-sectional sample survey data, the most common form of evidence available, is notoriously impotent in the face of such questions, since for the most part any observed correlation between age and political attitudes could be consistent with either explanation. Ideally, what is needed to address the issue appropriately is longitudinal panel data, in which the same individuals are monitored over a substantial period of time. Panel studies, however, are not only extremely rare but seldom run for the length of time required to allow for robust monitoring of age-related changes. In a less than ideal world, an alternative data source is repeated cross-section studies spread out over a significant period. This paper employs six cross-sectional surveys, collected over a decade and a half in an attempt to untangle life cycle and generational effects on political attitudes.

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ID Code: 3444
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: political attitudes, age, life cycle, generation, age cohorts
ISBN: 1741071089
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLITICAL SCIENCE (160600) > Comparative Government and Politics (160603)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Clive S. Bean
Deposited On: 03 Feb 2006
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:15

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