Summary. This paper introduces the paired comparison model as a suitable approach for the analysis of partially ranked data. For example, the Inglehart index, collected in international social surveys to examine shifts in post-materialistic values, generates such data on a set of attitude items. However, current analysis methods have failed to account for the complex shifts in individual item values, or to incorporate subject covariates. The paired comparison model is thus developed to allow for covariate subject effects at the individual level, and a reparameterization allows the inclusion of smooth non-linear effects of continuous covariates. The Inglehart index collected in the 1993 International Social Science Programme survey is analysed, and complex non-linear changes of item values with age, level of education and religion are identified. The model proposed provides a powerful tool for social scientists.