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Does national culture change as countries develop? Evidence from generational cleavages

Danko Tarabar

Journal of Institutional Economics, 2019, vol. 15, issue 3, 397-412

Abstract: Development scholars have identified several Hofstede (1980, 2001) cultural dimensions as critically important determinants of long-run economic development across countries. Does economic progress, in turn, shape culture in a predictable direction? This paper investigates whether economic change since 1970 has induced shifts in five of the Hofstede value orientations in a sample of up to 72 countries. To achieve identification, we employ a unique data set on country-level cleavages in the values of two non-overlapping age cohorts approximately one generation (30 years) apart, on average. We find evidence that faster-growing countries during the period of coming of age and personality development of the younger cohort witnessed the rise of more individualistic and politically egalitarian generations, suggesting the existence of a self-perpetuating cycle between certain “good-for-development†cultural attitudes and economic development.

Date: 2019
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