Culture, Institutions and Democratization

Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Gerard Roland

NBER Working Paper No. 21117
Issued in April 2015, Revised in May 2016
NBER Program(s):POL

We construct a model of revolution and transition to democracy under individualistic and collectivist cultures. The main result is that, despite facing potentially larger collective action problems, countries with an individualistic culture are more likely to end up adopting democracy earlier than countries with a collectivist culture. Our empirical analysis suggests a strong and robust association between individualistic culture and average polity scores and length of democracy, even after controlling for other determinants of democracy emphasized in the literature. We provide evidence that countries with collectivist culture are also more likely to experience autocratic breakdowns and transitions from autocracy to autocracy.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21117

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