Modernization, formal social control, and anomie: A 45-society multilevel analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article investigates how economic modernization affects normative regulation by spurring formal social control in the political, economic, and private spheres as well as anomie. Multilevel negative binomial regression modeling, using World Values Survey and country-level data from 2005, predicts individual-level anomie using country-level formal-social-control indicators as well as individual-level controls. Such control variables include education, survey interest, gender, age, income, collectivism, nihilism, fatalism, and the diversity of information consumption. This work argues for and implements a ‘don’t know anomie’ (DKA) index, the sum of ‘don’t know’ responses in relation to 15 attitudinal questions, as a more direct measure of individual-level anomie. Findings indicate that, when controlling for all factors, a country’s level of formal social control in the political sphere, measured as low levels of perceived government corruption, reduces anomie. In addition, country-level formal social control in the private sphere, operationalized as a society where individuals are not primarily striving to meet their parents’ expectations, enhances anomie.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • social control, Modernization, Non-response, anomie, formality, informality
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-514
JournalInternational Journal of Comparative Sociology
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 1
Publication categoryResearch