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Culture Rules: The Foundations of the Rule of Law and Other Norms of Governance

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  • Amir N. Licht
  • Chanan Goldschmidt
  • Shalom H. Schwartz

Abstract

This study presents evidence about relations between national culture and social institutions. We operationalize culture with data on cultural dimensions for over 50 nations adopted from cross-cultural psychology and generate testable hypotheses about three basic social norms of governance: the rule of law, corruption, and accountability. These norms correlate systematically and strongly with national scores on cultural dimensions and also differ across cultural regions of the world. Regressions indicate that quantitative measures of national culture are alone remarkably predictive of governance, that economic inequality and British heritage add to predictive power, but that economic development and other factors add little. The results suggest a framework for understanding the relations between fundamental institutions of social order as well as policy implications for reform programs in transition economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Amir N. Licht & Chanan Goldschmidt & Shalom H. Schwartz, 2003. "Culture Rules: The Foundations of the Rule of Law and Other Norms of Governance," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-605, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2003-605
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rule of Law; Corruption; Accountability; Culture; Governance; Economic Inequality; Economic Development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • P50 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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