Studies in Comparative International Development

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 87–106 | Cite as

Cultural and economic prerequisites of democracy: Reassessing recent evidence

  • Axel Hadenius
  • Jan Teorell
Research Note


The purpose of this article is to reassess two influential theories of democratic development: the theory of democratic culture and the theory of economic development. The leading predecessors in each domain—Ronald Inglehart and Adam Przeworski—are the prime targets of analysis. We take issue with recent evidence presented by these authors on three grounds: the evidence (1) confuses “basic” criteria of democracy with possible “quality” criteria (Inglehart); (2) conceptualizes democracy in dichotomous rather than continuous terms (Przeworski); and (3) fails to account for endogeneity and contingent effects (Inglehart). In correcting for these shortcomings, we present striking results. In the case of democratic culture, the theory lacks support; neither overt support for democracy nor “self-expression values” affect democratic development. In the case of economic development, earlier findings must be refined. Although the largest impact of modernization is found among more democratized countries, we also find an effect among “semi-democracies.”


Economic Development Comparative International Development Political Culture American Political Science Review World Value Survey 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Axel Hadenius
  • Jan Teorell

There are no affiliations available

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