Ronald Inglehart in Memoriam

Ronald Inglehart in Memoriam

Publication date: Wed, 12 May 2021

The IPSA family was saddened to learn that our dear colleague Dr. Ronald Inglehart, Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan and Founding President of the World Values Survey, has passed away on 8 May 2021 at the age of 86. On behalf of IPSA and the global political science community, our deepest condolences go out to his family and loved ones.

Inglehart was born on 5 September 1934 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was raised in Glencoe, Illinois. He earned his undergraduate degree at Northwestern University and his Master’s and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. In 1963-1964, he was a Fulbright Scholar at Leiden University in The Netherlands. He taught political science from 1966 to 2021 at the University of Michigan, where he was the Amy and Alan Loewenstein Professor of Democracy, Democratization and Human Rights, and Research Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Social Research. He also was the founding director of the Ronald F. Inglehart Laboratory for Comparative Social Research at the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Prof. Inglehart’s research transformed the way that social scientists understand the role of human values and cultures in societies worldwide. In his seminal work, The Silent Revolution (1977), he used extensive survey evidence to argue that, in contrast to their parents and grandparents, younger generations growing up in secure and affluent post-industrial societies, developed “post-materialist” values. This orientation, he wrote, “emphasizes self-expression and quality-of-life over economic and physical security.” These notions have become commonplace in the social sciences, largely because of Inglehart’s groundbreaking research. He refined his ideas of societies’ changing values and culture.

He helped found the Euro-Barometer surveys and is recognized internationally for his work as the founding president of the World Values Survey, conducting longitudinal representative national surveys of over 100 societies since 1981. For these last four decades, the WVS has gathered data about the values of ordinary people and what they think about their lives, societies, economies, and politics.

Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris won the 2011 Johan Skytte Prize in political science, awarded by Sweden's Skytte Foundation for the most valuable contribution to political science.

The recipient of the Mattei Dogan Award in 2014, Prof. Inglehart participated in IPSA World Congresses. In 2016, he was guest of honour at IPSA’s 10th-anniversary event in Montreal, where he presented a lecture entitled 35 Years of Cultural Change: What’s Next?. In addition, IPSA collaborated with him several times for the World Values Survey.