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Culture, institutions and democratization*


We construct a model of revolution and transition to democracy under individualistic and collectivist cultures. The main result is that, despite facing potentially more challenging collective action problems, countries with individualistic cultures are more likely to end up adopting democracy earlier than countries with collectivist cultures. Our empirical analysis suggests a strong and robust association between individualistic cultures and average polity scores and durations of democracy, even after controlling for other determinants of democracy emphasized in the literature. We provide evidence that countries with collectivist cultures also are more likely to experience autocratic breakdowns and transitions from autocracy to autocracy.

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