Following up on Noah Smith’s earlier blog post, we discussed this question at lunch. Noah cites Japan as a country where there is a high degree of respect granted, and a relatively high equality of respect, and very likely that is true for artisans, manufacturing workers, foreign dignitaries, and foxes. But is it true more generally if we take into the position of women, who are often locked out of good jobs? How about the position of the young “lost generation,” namely all those guys with virtual girlfriends, who have given up on real sex and won’t leave their apartments? How about various minorities in Japanese society, such as the ethnic Koreans? Does Japan lose out on the forms of respect that come from large, extended families, as you might find say in Sicily?
Those judgments have some subjective elements, but I do think they bring Japan down a few notches when it comes to respect and equality of respect.
Oddly I think of the United States as a country with a fair degree of both respect and equality of respect. The diversity of niches and the diverse geography create many pathways for being thought highly of, or for thinking highly of oneself, and there are many insulations from the overweening standards of elites. And we have plenty of indifference, which is a kind of equality of respect, albeit not to be confused with respect per se.
Arguably the most powerful and influential men find plenty of respect in just about any society. A lot of the cross-national variation in respect might come on the female side of the ledger. That would likely favor the Nordic countries and Iceland in a ranking of respect.
Cowen’s Third Law says there is a literature on everything, but the most obvious Google searches did not yield concrete results. (There is however Richard Sennett’s Respect in a World of Inequality.) Can any MR readers speak to the empirical knowledge on this question? We all know the literature on happiness across nations, but here we are interested specifically in respect, where people are respected the most, and where equality of respect is most robust.
How would one go about measuring respect?
Addendum: Justin Wolfers suggest this link, and some Gallup World Poll data, showing respect is positively correlated with wealth: