i thought i’d dip into the world values survey again to see what mexicans think/feel about certain behavioral norms/illegal activities in society as compared to americans (both white and black).
we’ve seen before that mexicans of all colors are less civic-minded than white americans, and that mexicans are more extended-family oriented than white americans (see also here). but what do mexicans think about the breaking of certain laws in society? how justifiable do they feel certain actions might be?
i looked at the world values survey 2005 and 2006 for the u.s. and mexico (you can read all about the two surveys in the technical reports here — they appear to be sound surveys to me). what i looked at were four of the “justifiable” questions:
Please tell me for each of the following statements whether you think it can always be justified, never be justified, or something in between [on a scale from 1 to 10, never to always]:
- Claiming government benefits to which you are not entitled.
– Avoiding a fare on public transport.
– Cheating on taxes if you have a chance.
– Someone accepting a bribe in the course of their duties.
here are the results of those who answered “Never justifiable” by sub-population for each of the questions. moreno oscuro=dark mestizo, moreno claro=light mestizo. i left out the indigenous group in mexico because the sample size was too small. the sample sizes are n=ca. 130-830.
- Claiming government benefits to which you are not entitled. – Never justifiable.
so only ca. 30-40% of mexicans (depending on their skin color) think that claiming gov’t benefits to which one is not entitled is never justifiable. otoh, nearly 70% of white americans think such a behavior is never justifiable.
- Avoiding a fare on public transport. – Never justifiable.
again, a ten to twenty point difference between the various mexican sub-groups and white americans.
- Cheating on taxes if you have a chance. – Never justfiable.
the ranges are closer wrt cheating on taxes, but still, more white americans feel it’s never justifiable than these three various groups of mexicans.
- Someone accepting a bribe in the course of their duties. – Never justifiable.
again, at least a ten, if not twenty, point spread between when it comes to thinking bribe taking can be justifiable.
it seems, then, that most mexicans — from white mexicans to dark-skinned mestizos (don’t know about the purely indigenous groups) — more ofen than white americans, feel that various types of cheating in society can be justified to some degree or another.
(note: comments do not require an email. likelihood of bribing mexican traffic police.)