Violetta Korsunova, Junior Research Fellow, and Boris Sokolov, Laboratory Head, have become the prizewinners of the Elizabeth H. Nelson Prize for the best paper from a society in transition. Laboratory's staff congratulates them on their victory and sincerely wishes them inspiration and success in their endeavours!
The Bachelor's programme 'Sociology and Social Informatics' will work out well for those who are interested in public processes, people's lives and data analysis. The programme offers state-funded places and fee-paying places for foreign students. We talked about the peculiarities and advantages of the programme with its academic supervisor Anna Nemirovskaya.
Who finds happiness in their work? Now we have a better idea
Aleena Khan, from Pakistan, is currently pursuing a master's in Comparative Social Research at HSE University, Moscow. Despite studying online in the first semester, she already feels part of the HSE student community. In her interview, Aleena talks about the admissions process, her favourite courses, and her general impressions.
The Ronald F. Inglehart Laboratory for Comparative Social Research of the National Research University Higher School of Economics announces a call for the 11th LCSR International Workshop “Recent Advances in Comparative Study of Values”, which will be held within the XXIII Yasin (April) International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development. It will take place in Moscow from the 4th till the 8th of April 2022.
Springer series “Societies and Political Orders in Transition” is now completed with a new collective monograph “Social Capital and Subjective Well-Being: Insights from Cross-Cultural Studies” edited by Anna Almakaeva, Deputy Head at the Ronald F. Inglehart Laboratory for Comparative Social Research (HSE University), Alejandro Moreno (Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México — ITAM) and Rima Wilkes (University of British Columbia).
Eduard Ponarin has decided to leave the position of the head of the Ronald F. Inglehart Laboratory for Comparative Social Research. Since October 1st, 2021, Boris Sokolov, Senior Research Fellow, has taken over the responsibility.
Department of Political Science and International Relations, HSE in St. Petersburg in association with the Ronald F. Inglehart Laboratory for Comparative Social Research and the International Political Science Association (IPSA) are continuing to accept applications for the 4th instalment of the IPSA–HSE Summer School for Methods of Political & Social Research. The School will be held online from August 9 to August 22, 2021.
Ronald Inglehart, the founding father of the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, passed away on May 8th. Despite a serious illness, he worked until the last days of his life: last December, his book Religion's Sudden Decline was published by Oxford University Press, and in recent months he has been working on a new monograph on China. The death of the world-famous scientist was responded by the World Values Survey Association (WVSA), the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR), the International Political Science Association (IPSA), the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), the University of Michigan, as well as many other organizations, associations and a huge number of colleagues around the world. The words of memory and recollections about Inglehart were also published by his colleagues from the LCSR, which has recently been named after him.
In the memory of Ronald Inglehart
After Hofstede proposed individualism-collectivism (IDV-COLL) as a dimension of national culture, numerous studies have used that name to refer to individual-level psychological constructs, based on theories and empirical operationalizations that are not necessarily compatible with the Hofstede tradition. This has created confusion. In this study, we investigate whether the two revised Minkov-Hofstede dimensions of national culture - IDV-COLL and “flexibility-monumentalism” (FLX-MON) - have individual-level counterparts and if they are isomorphic (have the same structure at both levels of analysis). We find that the three main conceptual facets of national COLL (conformism, ascendancy, and exclusionism) and the three of MON (self-esteem, self-stability, and generosity) materialize as six independent individual-level dimensions in a nationally representative sample from Mongolia (n = 1500). This structure emerged in a confirmatory factor analysis, multidimensional scaling, and hierarchical cluster analyses. This is the first series of analyses of the structure of the individual-level ingredients of national IDV-COLL and FLX-MON.
Suicide is a major cause of death in Central and Northeast Europe and Northeast Asia. The literature on this geographic pattern has not reached consensus. The authors propose an analysis of the view that national culture may be a risk factor. They use measures of culture from a quasi-nationally representative 2015–2016 database, with over 50,000 respondents from 53 countries, and WHO suicide data for 2016. A correlation analysis across items reveals four cultural features of countries with high suicide rates (r with suicide rates > .40): parents are less likely to socialize children for helping, sharing money, forgiving offenses, and expressing feelings. These four items yield a single “harshness” factor (r with national suicide rates = .69). Measures of self-construals reveal that people in countries with high suicide rates are less helpful, generous, and forgiving, have less interest in others, lower personal stability, poorer mood, lower self-esteem and self-confidence, and use less deliberation before important decisions (r with suicide rates > .40). These items yield another “harsh culture” factor, strongly correlated with the previous. Harsh culture, alcoholism rates, climatic harshness, and social hardship (short life expectancy plus child and maternal mortality), explain 71 percent of the national variation in suicide.
There is a need for a simple and graspable model of culture covering the main cultural differences across modern nations. A two-dimensional model might be a reasonable choice. We analyzed data from the World Values Survey and the European Values Study to test whether different two-dimensional models are factor rotations of each other. We took into account criticisms regarding the choice of items in Inglehart’s analysis of the same data source. Nevertheless, we replicated his dimensions. By means of factor rotation by various angles we aligned our dimensions and those of Inglehart with other previously published sets of dimensions. Thus, although different studies seem to have produced different two-dimensional solutions depending on the study design, those solutions are actually related to each other. There is no right or wrong placement of axes—they describe the same relationships between cultural elements. By showing the positions of various sets of cultural dimensions relative to each other, this study adds another viewpoint that can help researchers make sense of the huge variety of cultural dimensions in the literature.
Many datasets used in the social sciences have a hierarchical structure, where lower units of aggregation are ‘nested’ in higher units. In many disciplines, such data are analyzed using multilevel modeling (MLM, also known as hierarchical linear modeling). However, MLM as a framework is relatively unknown in economics. Instead, economists use a range of separate econometric methods, including cluster-robust standard errors, fixed effects models, models with cross-level interactions, and estimated dependent variable models. Relying on an extensive literature review, this paper describes this methodological divide and provides a detailed comparison between MLM and ‘economic methods’ in their abilities to deal with three methodological challenges inherent in multilevel data ‒ clustering, omitted variables, and coefficients' heterogeneity across groups. We unfold the comparative advantages of these two methodological approaches and provide practical recommendations about which of them should be used, why, and in what settings.
Decades ago, Hofstede claimed that dimensions of culture are entirely subjective creations. In this study, we claim that some measures of culture have an objective element. We focus on Hofstede's classic model, reduced to just two dimensions: individualism-collectivism (IDV-COLL) and long-term orientation, renamed “flexibility-monumentalism” (FLX-MON). Recent studies showed that: (1) all valid and reproducible dimensions of culture, from all models, are essentially variants of these two, (2) this 2D model has a close analogue in dimensions of behaviors measured across the world's countries, (3) the same model emerges across the 50 US states, (4) an analysis of all recurrent culture-related items in the World Values Survey (WVS) yields a similar 2D model that can be further aligned with it after targeted rotation, (5) the model is aligned approximately with the Earth's geographic axes. In this study, we used WVS items and expanded Minkov's IDV-COLL and FLX-MON 55-country indices with scores for another 47 countries. Our IDV-COLL and FLX-MON 102-country indices are predictors of 20 important extraneous variables, relevant in international business (such as transparency-corruption, political and economic freedom, competitiveness, innovation output, ICT adoption, fatalities in transport and industry, gender equality, economic equality, educational achievement, working hours, violent crime, etc.). Of all dimensions of culture, IDV-COLL and FLX-MON are the only predictors of the two factors behind these extraneous variables. IDV-MON and FLX-MON also yield the highest correlations with objective geographic variables, such as latitude-longitude, Welzel's “cool water”, as well as pathogen prevalence. This gives further credibility to the revised Minkov-Hofstede 2D model and confirms its objective element.
Purpose. It is often believed that the type of religion that a group of people follow (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.) can account for significant and important cultural differences, with implications for business ethics, corporate and social responsibility, and other business-related variables. The alternative view is that the cultural differences between religions are either trivial or are actually misinterpreted ethnic or national differences. The purpose of this paper is to compare and evaluate these two views.
Design/methodology/approach. The authors focus on Africa, the most religious region of the world, whose cultures should therefore be especially susceptible to the effect of religion. We used latest data from 100 religious groups, following 19 religions, and living in 27 countries, from the nationally representative Afrobarometer. The items in the authors’ analysis reveal cultural ideologies concerning key cultural domains, such as inclusive–exclusive society (gender equality, homophobia and xenophobia), the role of government and the role of religion in politics. These domains are related to cultural conservatism versus modernization and have clear implications for management. The authors compare the group-level effect of belonging to a certain nation to the effect of belonging to a certain religion.
Findings. A hierarchical cluster analysis produced crystal-clear national clusters, with only one of the 100 religious groups systematically clustering outside its respective national cluster. The authors did not obtain a single cross-national cluster of coreligionists. Variation between nations was far greater than between religious groups and the latter was most often statistically insignificant. A comparison of Muslims with other religions revealed that Muslims are not generally more conservative, although they do have a marginally greater tendency to be less gender egalitarian. The authors conclude that the African national environments have a much stronger impact on cultural differences than do religions. The effect of the latter, compared to the former, is negligibly small and often insignificant. Thus, they find no evidence that religions can produce a powerful discriminant effect on some of the most important elements of culture.
Research limitations/implications. Non-Abrahamic religions are poorly represented in Africa. Therefore, we could not assess their effect on culture. Nevertheless, it seems that attempts to explain cultural differences in values and ideologies in terms of religious differences are misguided, even in a cultural environment where religion is very strong.
Practical implications. The findings could help improve executive training in cross-cultural awareness, purging it from erroneous views on the origins of cultural differences. Managers should avoid simplistic explanations of the values and ideologies of their employees in terms of their religious affiliation.
Social implications. Simplistic (yet very popular) explanations of culture as a function of type of religion should be avoided in society at large, too. The idea that different religions generate different cultures is not only dubious from a scientific perspective but also socially dangerous as it may lead to religious intolerance.
Originality/value. This is only the second study in the history of the whole cross-cultural field that provides a multinational and multidenominational comparison of the effect of nations versus religious denominations on culture.
Religions are often portrayed as sources of important cultural differences.
We compared differences in cultural modernization between religions and between nations in Africa.
Variation between 27 African countries dwarfed that between 100 religious groups.
Practically all religious groups yielded perfectly homogeneous national clusters.
We did not observe a single cluster of coreligionists from different countries.
We conclude that nations have a strong effect on cultural differences whereas religions have a minimal effect at best.
How are candidates without official party affiliation able to succeed in authoritarian elections? We analyzed 1,101 independents who took part in city council elections in Russia’s regional capitals between 2014 and 2018. We found that independent candidates’ electoral fortunes depended both on their personal resources enabling them to attract voters’ support and pre-electoral deals with the regime. We also discovered that the chances of being elected were higher for those formally independent candidates who were the regime’s hidden representatives. For the latter group, the chances to win the race were boosted mostly by pre-electoral deals, rather than their personal resources.
Background: Previous studies have shown that national cultural traits, such as collectivism-individualism and tightness-looseness, are associated with COVID-19 infection and mortality rates. However, although East Asian countries have outperformed other countries in containing COVID-19 infections and lowering mortality in the first pandemic waves, no studies to date have examined flexibility-monumentalism, a cultural trait that uniquely distinguishes East Asia from the rest of the world. Moreover, none of the previous studies have explored mechanisms underpinning the association between national culture and COVID-19 mortality.
Aims: Our study fills in these gaps by examining the association between flexibility-monumentalism and COVID-19 mortality, adjusting for important covariates and by analyzing mask wearing and fear of COVID-19 during the first weeks of the pandemic as plausible mechanisms underpinning this association.
Methods: We constructed and analyzed a dataset including 37 countries that have valid information on flexibility-monumentalism, COVID-19 deaths as of 31 October 2020 (before the start of vaccination campaigns), and relevant covariates including two other national cultural traits (individualism-collectivism and tightness-looseness) and other national characteristics (economic, political, demographic and health). Multiple linear regression with heteroscedasticity-consistent standard errors was used to assess the independent effect of flexibility-monumentalism on COVID-19 mortality. Mediation was assessed by examining the indirect effects of flexibility through mask wearing and fear of COVID-19 and determining the statistical significance through bootstrapping. Graphical and delete-one analysis was used to assess the robustness of the results.
Results: We found that flexibility was associated with a significant reduction in COVID-19 mortality as of 31 October 2020, independent of level of democracy, per capita GDP, urbanization, population density, supply of hospital beds, and median age of the population. This association with mortality is stronger and more robust than for two other prominent national cultural traits (individualism-collectivism and tightness-looseness). We also found tentative evidence that the effect of flexibility on COVID-19 mortality may be partially mediated through mask wearing in the first weeks of the pandemic.
The article explores the relationship between Orthodox religiosity and voting in Russia in 2011–2018. Using the theoretical framework of desecularization from above, which claims that church structures play a key role in the religious renaissance policy, we argue that the rise of the political influence of the ROC (Russian Orthodox Church) may be explained by its capacity for dissemination of traditional values that ultimately results in votes for United Russia and President Vladimir Putin in national elections. This study reveals the emergence of a new area on Russia’s political map—the belt – into Belt, which combines higher levels of Orthodox religiosity and pro-Kremlin voting in national elections. Using multiple empirical strategies we construct an index of religiosity on the regional level and identify the Orthodox Belt regions, test the relationship between Orthodox religiosity and voting in the national elections in 2011–2018, and test the differences in value orientations and electoral support between the Orthodox Belt regions and other ones. Finally, two model regions of the Orthodox Belt—Tambov and Lipetsk—are explored. We conclude that non-Orthodox Belt regions in Russia with higher Orthodox religiosity, conservatism, and loyalty are an emerging trend in Russian political geography.
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Лаборатория сравнительных социальных исследований, Национальный исследовательский университет «Высшая школа экономики».
Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation.
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Статья/монография/глава подготовлена в ходе/в результате проведения исследования/работы в рамках Программы фундаментальных исследований Национального исследовательского университета «Высшая школа экономики» (НИУ ВШЭ).
The article/book chapter/book was prepared within the framework of the HSE University Basic Research Program.