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Working paper

Development, culture, and attitudes to America: country-level predictors of anti-Americanism

Zhirkov K.
The present study examines survey data from 45 countries by the means of factor and regression analyses in order to understand the nature and causes of anti-Americanism. Empirical results reveal a clear distinction between cultural and political anti-Americanism. The former involves negative attitudes towards American culture and its global spread, whereas the latter is specifically focused on disapproval of the U.S. foreign policies. The two forms of anti-Americanism also differ in their relationship to socioeconomic development. Cultural anti-Americanism is most widespread in countries with average levels of Human Development Index, whereas political anti-Americanism is stronger in the most developed societies. This study finds that Muslim societies are characterized by higher levels of both cultural and political anti-Americanism. On the whole, these findings indicate that anti-Americanism follows consistent country-level patterns and likely has universal roots which should be studied within a comparative framework.