Agency, Values, and Well-Being: A Human Development Model

Welzel, C. & Inglehart, R.
This paper argues that feelings of agency are linked to human well-being through a sequence of adaptive mechanisms that promote human development, once existential conditions become permissive. In the first part, we elaborate on the evolutionary logic of this model and outline why an evolutionary perspective is helpful to understand changes in values that give feelings of agency greater weight in shaping human well-being. In the second part, we test the key links in this model with data from the World Values Surveys using ecological regressions and multi-level models, covering some 80 societies worldwide.

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