Tormos, R., Vauclair, M., Dobewall. H., Fairbrother, M. and Akaliyski, P. "The Evolution of Morality"

This study examined the development of moral attitudes over time from a comparative perspective. Delving into the moral universalism and relativism debate, we show that the evolution of moral attitudes depends on the moral issues investigated. Using items from the Morally Debatable Behaviors Scale (MDBS) fielded in the World Value Survey and the European Value Survey (WVS-EVS integrated dataset 1981-2014), we found that the two cross-cultural dimensions of moral issues found by Vauclair & Fischer (2011), attitudes towards (1) dishonest–illegal and (2) personal–sexual issues, do evolve differently over time following a predictable pattern across countries. Drawing upon evolutionary and value theories, we expected that the former moral domain, not related to cultural values, would experience smaller variations over time, whereas the latter, influenced by cultural conceptions of the self, would undergo clear foreseeable changes. We used dynamic comparative multilevel modelling with socioeconomic contextual independent variables (both time invariant and time varying) and the two moral domains as assessed through the MDBS as dependent variables to test our hypotheses. After controlling for individual-level differences in moral attitudes, our findings confirmed that attitudes towards dishonest–illegal issues were more stable over time irrespective of the country; whereas attitudes towards personal–sexual issues underwent deeper transformations and the cross-country variation was higher. In particular, nations that enjoyed more economic prosperity during the period of observation experienced increasing levels of tolerance and openness in the personal and sexual issues domain.


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

This research studies the impact of past episodes of violence and repression on current territorial preferences. It delves on the effect of such past experiences on more recent willingness to change the status quo in the form of support for Catalan secession from Spain. More concretely, we study whether the formative experiences of individuals who lived first-hand or were close to those turbulent past episodes are more or less likely to support secession. We make use of a unique dataset that combines a large N of individual-level data from Catalan public opinion surveys with historical data about repression and violence during and after the Spanish Civil War in each Catalan municipality. Applying random effects models were individuals are nested in their respective municipality, we show that current preferences for secession tend to diminish among the oldest Catalan generation that was exposed to increasing levels of violence in their town. People exposed to those traumatic events during their youth are today less inclined to support the drastic change in the status quo that Catalan secession implies, other things held constant. These findings question some of the existing knowledge on the effects of past political violence on present political attitudes.

Tormos, R., and Rodon, T. "Age-Period-Cohort Effects on Attitudes towards Catalan Sovereignty"

Support for secession in Catalonia has increased substantially in recent years. This research is devoted to understanding the sources of this evolution. What role has age, period and cohort factors played in it? Making use of an original dataset of repeated cross-sectional surveys that span over 29 years (1991-2019), we apply logistic cross-classified random effects models (both frequentist and Bayesian) to quantify the contribution of each component. Although there is a cohort pattern (and age effects), the key element for understanding the dynamics of Catalan secessionist demands is related to period effects. The political context drives the current evolution of Catalan secessionism. People from all cohorts have changed their mind considerably about their preferred constitutional arrangement in recent years. We also explore the changing role of ethnic origin and national identification in the dynamics of secessionist attitudes. Finally, we examine the consequences of future demographic trends in Catalan ethnic divides.

Tormos, R., and Verge, T. "The Gender Gap in Political Interest: A By-Product of Survey Specification Error"

Embedding randomized experiments in two representative surveys of the Catalan population, we show that the instrument commonly used in political behavior studies to measure citizens’ interest in politics is far from gender-neutral. By implicitly associating the political to male-dominated issues and domains, it artificially amplifies the gender gap, particularly by depressing women’s interest. The first experiment captures respondents’ interest through both the abstract question about general political interest and a battery of political issues, randomizing question order. In the second experiment an in-text help expands the general interest question by prompting respondents to think about politics in wider terms. Randomizing the presentation of male-oriented issues, female-oriented issues or a combination of both the recency principle can also be tested. By broadening the conceptualization of the political, the priming applied in our experiments effectively closes the gender gap, thereby casting doubt on the validity of the traditional survey instrument.

Verge, T, and Tormos, R. "Shaping Support for Gender Quotas: Legitimacy Cues and Question Wording Effects"

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

Tormos, R., Fonseca, P., and Garcia-Alamino, J. M. "The Role of School Reopening in the COVID-19 Spread During the Second Pandemic Wave in Spain"

Anduiza, E., and Tormos, R. "Survey Research and Political Participation"

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







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