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Sastry's 10-year study of New Orleans Katrina evacuees shows demographic differences between returning and nonreturning

Stafford says less educated, smaller investors more likely to sell off stock and lock in losses during market downturn

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Deirdre Bloome wins ASA award for work on racial inequality and intergenerational transmission

Bob Willis awarded 2015 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Labor Economics

David Lam is new director of Institute for Social Research

Elizabeth Bruch wins Robert Merton Prize for paper in analytic sociology

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Oct 12
Joe Grengs, Policy & Planning for Social Equity in Transportation

Ronald F. Inglehart photo

Liberalism, Postmaterialism and the Growth of Freedom

Publication Abstract

Inglehart, Ronald F., and Christian Welzel. 2005. "Liberalism, Postmaterialism and the Growth of Freedom." International Review of Sociology, 15(1): 81-108.

An influential analysis by Przeworski and Limongi (1997) argued that a pro-democratic culture may help existing democracies survive, but political culture does not contribute to the process of democratization, which is entirely done by elites. We challenge this conclusion, arguing that it neglects the very nature of democratization. For (as Human Development theory argues), democratization is a liberating process that maximizes human freedom by establishing civil and political rights. Consequently, the aspect of political culture that is most relevant to democratization is mass aspirations for freedom - and if a given public emphasizes these values relatively strongly, democratization is likely to occur. To test this thesis, we use data from the Values Surveys, demonstrating that a specific component of postmaterialism ('liberty aspirations') had a major impact on the extent to which societies gained or lost freedom during the Third Wave of democratization. This effect holds up in tests of Granger causality, remaining strong when we control for prior levels of freedom. No other indicator, including GDP/capita and social capital, can explain away the impact of liberty aspirations on democratization. Mass liberty aspirations play a role in democratization that has been greatly underestimated.

DOI:10.1080/03906700500038579 (Full Text)

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