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How close? An attempt at measuring the cultural distance between countries

Author

Listed:
  • Gustavo De Santis

    (Institute of Statistics, University of Florence)

  • Mauro Maltagliati

    (Institute of Statistics, University of Florence)

  • Silvana Salvini

    (Institute of Statistics, University of Florence)

Abstract

We present a (to the best of our knowledge) new method for evaluating the relative distance between any two countries, among several, on the basis of individual data. First, clusters of respondents are formed and the proportion of each country’s respondents who belong to the various clusters is calculated. Under the assumptions that 1) respondents in the same cluster are similar to one another (and different from those who belong to different clusters), and 2) that two countries are close to each other when their nationals distribute similarly between clusters, the distance between countries can be expressed in terms of distance between the observed distributions (the average of the squared differences between the ranks). The method is applied to the WVS (World Value Survey) dataset for the years 1994-2007, first separately, by “domain” (opinions and attitudes on, e.g., religion, politics, and family), and then on all of the (selected) variables together. On the basis of the data of the WVS, this procedure leads us to conclude that Italy and Poland, the two countries of interest in this study, are very close to each other in the European context.

Suggested Citation

  • Gustavo De Santis & Mauro Maltagliati & Silvana Salvini, 2014. "How close? An attempt at measuring the cultural distance between countries," Working Papers 62, Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isd:wpaper:62
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Solveig Christiansen & Nico Keilman, 2013. "Probabilistic household forecasts based on register data- the case of Denmark and Finland," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 28(43), pages 1263-1302.
    2. Jan M. Hoem & Giuseppe Gabrielli & Aiva Jasilioniene & Dora Kostova & Anna Matysiak, 2010. "Levels of recent union formation," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(9), pages 199-210.
    3. Inglehart, Ronald, 1971. "The Silent Revolution in Europe: Intergenerational Change in Post-Industrial Societies," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(4), pages 991-1017, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shulgin, Sergey & Zinkina, Julia & Korotayev, Andrey, 2017. "“Neighbors in values”: A new dataset of cultural distances between countries based on individuals’ values, and its application to the study of global trade," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 966-985.
    2. Daniele Vignoli & Silvana Salvini, 2014. "Religion and union formation in Italy: Catholic precepts, social pressure, and tradition," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(35), pages 1079-1106.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cultural Distance; European countries; Cluster analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • Y8 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Related Disciplines

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