Exploring Maslow's Hierarchy Empirically Public

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/honors_college_theses/ft848s378

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  • For each of the 5 needs in Maslow’s motivational hierarchy (physiological, safety–security, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization), measures of satisfaction were gathered from the German Socio-Economic Panel to assess their correlations with each other in order to test the validity of the structure of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. While other studies have analyzed such correlations, they were unable to decisively support or invalidate the hierarchy theory because correlation does not imply causation. Without determining causality it is impossible to distinguish between the hierarchy Maslow proposed and any other ranking through correlations alone. This study utilized instrumental variable regressions to determine causal relationships. By comparing regressions structured according to Maslow’s hierarchy to unstructured regressions, a relationship between need satisfactions was found to exist but not necessarily in the order Maslow proposed.
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