Democracy by Demand? Reinvestigating the Effect of Self-expression Values on Political Regime Type
Sirianne Dahlum and Carl Henrik Knutsen have published an article in the British Journal of Political Science.
The notion that cultural characteristics influence political regimes remains popular, despite mixed supporting evidence. In particular, democracy is argued to emerge and thrive in countries where liberal or freedom-oriented values (so-called self-expression values) are widespread. Yet cross-country correlations between self-expression values and democracy could stem from different processes. Inglehart and Welzel, for instance, report such an effect, mainly drawing inferences from cross-country comparisons. Yet cross-country correlations between self-expression values and democracy could stem from different processes.
Reinvestigating this relationship, this article finds no empirical support when employing models accounting for sample-selection bias, country-specific effects and the endogeneity of values to democracy. Self-expression values do not enhance democracy levels or democratization chances, and neither do they stabilize existing democracies. In contrast, this study finds indications that a country’s experience with democracy enhances self-expression values.
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