DP10563 Culture, Institutions and Democratization

Author(s): Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Gérard Roland
Publication Date: April 2015
Keyword(s): collective action, collectivism, culture, democratization, individualism
JEL(s): H1, P48, Z1
Programme Areas: Public Economics, Development Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10563

We construct a model of revolution and transition to democracy under an individualistic and a collectivist culture. 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 faster than countries with a collectivist culture. Our instrumental variable estimation suggests a strong and robust effect of individualistic culture on average polity scores and length of democracy, even after controlling for other determinants of democracy emphasized in the literature. We also give evidence that countries with collectivist culture are also more likely to experience autocratic breakdowns and transitions from autocracy to autocracy.