In the soon-to-no-longer-be-used Microcase workbook I have been using for years, one of the exercises, in the chapter on socialization, involved looking at what particular traits people think children should possess, in different countries. The data for this exercise came from the World Value Survey. In the WVS, you can only download full datasets, formatted for SPSS, SAS, or STATA, which I don’t have at home. However, the website offers a neat analysis tool where you can conduct some analysis in your browser, selecting the variables and countries you want, and then, download the result in Excel. Thanks to that and Tableau, I was able to reconstruct the exercise.

Results below: bar charts showing what percentage of surveyed people, in selected countries (missing a lot of data from Africa, as usual), think children should have the following traits:

Determination / perseverance

In this case, I think it is more interesting to look at which countries do not really value that trait all that much, that is, the bottom of the list, rather than the top. And what’s with Switzerland?


Note how the percentages go way up compared to the previous one, where the maximum value was 72.5%. Note also the strong showing of Asian countries toward the top.

Hard work

Note the absence of Western countries from the top and their stronger presence at the bottom. I blame Montessori education and pop psychology, and also, affluence.


And here, Western, wealthy, countries make a strong showing at the top, not very surprisingly. But note how low the percentages are, even for the top, and how really low they are at the bottom.


This one leads to more mixed results and not particular geographical trends.


Here again, it is not surprising to find no Western countries at the top, but poorer, and, one can assume, more traditionalist countries where obedience is more valued. It is interesting to find Japan and Hong Kong way at the bottom, with very low rates.

Tolerance and respect

Here again, we find Western countries at the top, considering tolerance and respect are fairly liberal values.

Religious faith

Countries with strong Muslim populations take the first three slots. After that, the rates go down pretty quickly. Why is Hong Kong always at the bottom?


Asian countries occupy the top on that one (except Hong King, again, at the bottom). Wealthier countries, overall, don’t seem to care all that much.


The top percentages for this one are not all that high to start with. Very quickly, the percentages get under 50%. Why would that be?

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