Tormos, R., Vauclair, M., Dobewall. H., Akaliyski, P., and Fairbrother, M. "The Evolution of Moral Beliefs across Three Decades. Different Pathways for Universal and Culture-Specific Moralities"

This research delves into the moral universalism and relativism debate. We show that the cross-national trends in moral attitudes depend on the moral issues investigated. As research material, we use the items from the Morally Debatable Behaviors Scale (MDBS) fielded in the World Value Survey and the European Value Survey (1981-2014). Applying dynamic comparative multilevel models, we find that attitudes towards (1) dishonest–illegal issues and (2) personal–sexual matters evolve differently over time following a predictable pattern across countries. Consistent with evolutionary theory, attitudes towards dishonest–illegal issues are more stable over time in most countries (except for the Global South), whereas attitudes towards personal–sexual issues undergo deeper transformations in tune with modernization’s value theory. Nations that enjoyed more economic prosperity also experienced higher levels of tolerance in the personal-sexual moral domain.


Rodon, T., and Tormos, R. "The Burden of a Violent Past. Formative Experiences of Repression and Support for Secession in Catalonia"

This research note studies the impact of past episodes of violence and repression on current territorial preferences in a contemporary democracy. Does a violent past lay the grounds for pro-secessionist preferences or does it lead individuals to cling on to the territorial status quo? We study whether exposure to the events of the Spanish Civil
War and its immediate aftermath made people more or less likely to support Catalan secession from Spain. Our analysis employs a dataset that combines a large N of individual-level survey data with historical data about repression and violence in each Catalan municipality. Findings show that current preferences for secession tend to
diminish among the oldest Catalan generation that was exposed to higher levels of violence in their municipality. Most crucially, we show exposure to violence created a sense of apathy towards politics among the oldest cohort, which eventually leads to a lower predisposition to support secession, a feeling that was not transmitted to the next
generations. Our findings qualify some of the existing knowledge on the effects of past political violence on present political attitudes.

Tormos, R., and Rodon, T. "Openness to Secession. An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis of Support for Secession in Catalonia, 1991-2019"

Support for secession in Catalonia has increased substantially in recent years. But what role has age, period and cohort factors played in such an increase? Making use of a dataset of repeated cross-sectional surveys that span over 29 years (1991- 2019), we apply logistic cross-classified random effects models to quantify the contribution of each component. We show that, although there is an underlying cohort pattern by which younger generations are more favourable to secession, period effects are the main drivers of the evolution of Catalan secessionism. In recent years, all cohorts have changed their mind considerably about their preferred constitutional arrangement in response to contextual political events. Replicating the models in each national identity subgroup shows that period effects are stronger when the Catalan identity is also stronger. However, dual identifiers also played a key role in enlarging the aggregate level of support for independence. In addition, cohort effects following the same pattern are ubiquitous across identity groups. Finally, the consequences of future cohort replacement effects for secessionist attitudes are examined.

Tormos, R., Fonseca, P., and Garcia-Alamino, J. M. "In-Person School Reopening and the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 During the Second Wave in Spain"

We investigate the effects of school reopening on the evolution of COVID-19 infections in Spain studying both regional and age-group variation. Spain’s 17 Autonomous Communities reopened schools at different moments in time during September 2020. We find that in-person school reopening correlates with a burst in infections in almost all those regions. Data from Spanish regions gives a further leverage: in some cases, pre-secondary and secondary education started at different dates. The analysis of those cases does not allow to conclude whether reopening one educational stage had an overall stronger impact than the other. To provide a plausible mechanism connecting school reopening with the burst in contagion, we study the Catalan case in more detail, scrutinizing the time-series patterns of infections among age-groups and the possible connections between them. The stark and sudden increase in contagion among older children (10-19) just after in-person school reopening appears to drag the evolution of other age-groups according to Granger causality. This might be taken as an indirect indication of household transmission from offspring to parents with important societal implications for the aggregate dynamics of infections.

Verge, T, and Tormos, R. "Shaping Support for Public Policies: Legitimacy Cues and Question Wording Effects in the Case of Gender Quotas"

Public policies require citizens’ support not only for their approval but also for their successful implementation. Gender quotas are an exemplary case of a divisive policy whose enactment does not automatically dissolve opposition. This article examines how support for gender quotas can be shaped through legitimacy cues and question wording. The empirical analysis builds on two experiments embedded in a representative survey fielded in Spain, where gender quotas in politics and private businesses were introduced a decade ago. Our results show that priming the legal framework yields positive effects on support for electoral quotas, whilst the endorsement of gender balance in corporate boards increases when the wording of the question does not mention the word quotas.

Muñoz, J., and Tormos, R. "Social Choice and the Self-Determination Debate: Evaluating Alternative Methods for Preference Aggregation in Catalonia"

Rudnev, M., and Tormos, R. "Personality Traits and Human Values"

Sortheix, F., and Tormos, R. "Personal Economic Grievances and their Implications for Values"