Socio-demographic effects on cultural biases - A Nordic study of grid-group theory

unnar Grendstad, Susan Sundback

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Grid-group theory claims that patterns of social relations only, and not socio-demographic characteristics. can account for biases, of which the theory prescribes four: hierarchy, egalitarianism, individualism and fatalism. Survey analysts conventionally employ respondents' socio-demographic correlates when accounting for values. We take the value survey strategy and apply it to grid-group theory's four biases. Employing a 1999 survey administered in Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland (n = 4,832), we combine two goals in this article. We test how sex, age, education and income can account for biases. By extension, we test grid-group theory's claim of no such effect. The results show that biases are influenced by socio-demographics in ways unaccounted for by the theory The four correlates explain on average 9 per cent of the variation in the biases. Education is the only correlate that has a negative and significant effect across all biases in all countries. Women adhere to egalitarianism, whereas men adhere to individualism. Age is a consistent positive correlate of hierarchy. whereas income is a consistent negative correlate of fatalism. Grid-group theory will not be impaired if it can be shown how robust socio-demographic correlates interact with patterns of social relations.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)289–306
Number of pages18
JournalActa Sociologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • age
  • cultural biases
  • education
  • grid-group theory
  • income
  • Scandinavia

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