Democracy Confused: When People Mistake the Absence of Democracy for Its Presence
A widely neglected phenomenon consists in the fact that large population segments in many countries confuse the absence of democracy with its presence. Significantly, these are also the countries where widespread support for democracy coexists with persistent deficiencies in the latter, including its outright absence. Addressing this puzzle, we introduce a framework to sort out to what extent national populations overestimate their regimes’ democratic qualities. We test our hypotheses applying multilevel models to about 93,000 individuals from 75 countries covered by the cross-cultural World Values Surveys. We find that overestimating democracy is a widespread phenomenon, although it varies systematically across countries. Among a multitude of plausible influences, cognitive stimuli and emancipative values work together as a psychologically activating force that turns people against overestimating democracy. In fact, this psychological activation not only reduces overestimations of democracy; it actually leads toward underestimations, thus increasing criticality rather than accuracy in assessments. We conclude that, by elevating normative expectations, psychological activation releases prodemocratic selection pressures in the evolution of regimes.
The results of cross-cultural research of implicit theories of innovativeness among students and teachers, representatives of three ethnocultural groups: Russians, the people of the North Caucasus (Chechens and Ingushs) and Tuvinians (N=804) are presented. Intergroup differences in implicit theories of innovativeness are revealed: the ‘individual’ theories of innovativeness prevail among Russians and among the students, the ‘social’ theories of innovativeness are more expressed among respondents from the North Caucasus, Tuva and among the teachers. Using the structural equations modeling the universal model of values impact on implicit theories of innovativeness and attitudes towards innovations is constructed. Values of the Openness to changes and individual theories of innovativeness promote the positive relation to innovations. Results of research have shown that implicit theories of innovativeness differ in different cultures, and values make different impact on the attitudes towards innovations and innovative experience in different cultures.
The Democratic Peace thesis suggests that the absence of war between major powers since 1945 is caused by the spread of democracy. The Capitalist Peace thesis emphasizes trade and the rise of knowledge economies as the forces driving peace. Complementing these interpretations, we present empirical evidence of a cultural change that is making peace more desirable to the publics of most societies around the world. Analyzing public opinion data covering 90% of the world’s population over three decades, we demonstrate that improving existential conditions elevate the life opportunities of growing population segments and lead them to become increasingly tolerant of diversity and place growing emphasis on self-realization. In recognition of life’s rising opportunities, people’s valuation of life changes profoundly: readiness to sacrifice one’s life gives way to an increasing insistence on living it, and living it the way one chooses. Hence, pro-choice values rise at the same time as willingness to sacrifice lives in war dwindles. Historical learning based on the specific experiences of given societies has also changed their publics’ willingness to fight in wars. This transformation of worldviews places interstate peace on an increasingly solid mass basis. © 2015, © The Author(s) 2015.
Structural equation modelers judge multi-item constructs against three requirements: (a) multiple items converge in a single dimension; (b) individual-level patterns of item convergence are invariant across countries; (c) aggregate-level patterns of item convergence replicate those at the individual level. This approach involves two premises: Measurement validity hinges solely on a construct’s internal convergence, and convergence patterns at the individual level have priority over those at the aggregate level. We question both premises (a) because convergence patterns at the aggregate-level exist in their own right and (b) because only a construct’s external linkages reveal its reality outreach. In support of these claims, we use the example of “emancipative values” to show that constructs can entirely lack convergence at the individual level and nevertheless exhibit powerful and important linkages at the aggregate level. Consequently, we advocate a paradigm shift from internal convergencetoward external linkage as the prime criterion of validity.
Competitive elections in authoritarian regimes are inherently ambiguous: do they extend regime persistence or, vice versa, operate as subversive events? This article tests Inglehart and Welzel's “emancipatory theory of democracy”, which has not been tested for competitive elections in autocracies: when emancipative values grow strong, autocratic power appears increasingly illegitimate in people's eyes, which motivates subversive mass actions against authoritarian rule. For electoral outcomes this suggestion implies, first, that authoritarian incumbents are more likely to suffer electoral defeat when emancipative values have become more widespread. Second, post-electoral protest against fraudulent elections is more likely when emancipative values have become more widespread. To test these hypotheses, we analyse 152 elections among 33 electoral authoritarian regimes over 21 years from 1990–2011. We find that emancipative values are indeed strongly conducive to incumbent defeat while their effect on post-electoral protest is conditional: it only occurs in elections won by the incumbent. These findings intertwine two separately developed literatures: one on authoritarian regime subversion and the other on emancipatory cultural change.
Students' internet usage attracts the attention of many researchers in different countries. Differences in internet penetration in diverse countries lead us to ask about the interaction of medium and culture in this process. In this paper we present an analysis based on a sample of 825 students from 18 Russian universities and discuss findings on particularities of students' ICT usage. On the background of the findings of the study, based on data collected in 2008-2009 year during a project "A сross-cultural study of the new learning culture formation in Germany and Russia", we discuss the problem of plagiarism in Russia, the availability of ICT features in Russian universities and an evaluation of the attractiveness of different categories of ICT usage and gender specifics in the use of ICT.