This paper examines the influence of societal values on individual attitudes towards immigration and immigrants. We argue that conflict between individual and societal values leads individuals to be exposed to frames and opinions that are contrary to their values, evokes competing considerations and creates attitudinal ambivalence and volatility. To evade ambivalence, individuals whose values are in conflict with those of their society rely less on their core values to construct their attitudes. Using data from the first wave of European Social Surveys and relying on Heteroskedastic Maximum Likelihood Regression, we test our argument simultaneously for 18 European countries and show that deviations from society's conservation and self-transcendence values lead to greater ambivalence in attitudes towards immigration and immigrants. Our results provide evidence of the importance of the social context and society's shared values in influencing personal political attitudes and judgments.
- Heteroskedastic Maximum Likelihood Regression
- attitudes towards immigration
- societal values