LCSR Associate Researcher
Akaliyski, P. (2018). United in diversity? The convergence of cultural values among EU member states and candidates. European Journal of Political Research. DOI: 10.1111/1475-6765.12285.
Akaliyski, P. (2017). Sources of Societal Value Similarities across Europe: Evidence from Dyadic Models. Comparative Sociology 16(4), 447-470. DOI: 10.1163/15691330-12341432.
Li, J., Akaliyski, P., Schäfer, J., Kendall, G., Oddy, W.H., Stanley, F. & Strazdins, L. (2017). Non-linear relationship between maternal work hours and child body weight: Evidence from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study. Social Science & Medicine 186, 52-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.05.046.
Akaliyski, P. (2015). Trenlinien Europas: Religion und Kultur aus der Perspektive des "Kampfs der Kulturen". WZB Mitteilung Issue 147 March 2015.
Akaliyski, P. (2014). Was zählt: Religion, Sprache, Ideologie. Die Wirtschaftsentwicklung erklärt die Kulturunterschiede in Europa nicht. WZB Mitteilung Issue 146 December 2014.
Historical legacies, cross-country interactions and value distance in Europe
Cross-cultural researchers are convinced that historical legacies play a significant role in explaining contemporary value differences between countries. But the mechanisms remain insufficiently examined. One possible mechanism I highlight in this paper is that values are diffused between countries sharing a common origin and historical background. This may increase the similarities between them, while the differences with other countries naturally widen over time. The ‘homophily’ principle suggests that countries that share commonalities are more likely to interact. This, in turn, prepares the ground for mutual cultural influence. I test these two hypotheses in two stage analysis using data on 40 European countries from various sources. Results from dyadic ordinary least squared regressions indicate that two countries are much more likely to have close economic ties if they speak the same or similar languages, the longer they have been members of the European Union and were part of the same empire in the past. Political cooperation is largely dependent on religious similarities, EU membership and the similarities with regard to the economic development. Closer cross-country interactions are, in turn, associated with cultural similarities, but it is not clear in which direction the causality operates. It is plausible that values are diffused through communication between countries but cultural barriers may also impede international contacts.
Europeanisation, modernization and the cultural gap: convergence or divergence?
Processes of European economic and political integration make the question of value congruity stand ever more salient. The roots of cultural differences can be traced back deep in nations’ historical legacies and in disparities in economic development. How stable are these value differences during a process of globalization and Europeanization? Theories give contradictory predictions about the persistence of value differences. Modernization theory predicts that value differences would disappear with the equalization of economic development and some authors argue that these processes are further boosted by the pressures of globalization. Contrary to that, Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations theory predicts that measurable gaps in values between nations not only will remain but they may even widen due to globalization. The proposed mechanism is that intensified cross-cultural interactions increase populations’ awareness of each other’s underlying cultural differences, thus potentially leading to conflicts between cultural entities with different heritage, which in turn widens the gaps. I test these two scenarios empirically using repeated cross-sectional data from World Values Study/European Value Survey collected from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the present day. I expect that the change in cultural distance over time would be primarily dependent on the changes in cross-country economic disparities and the integration in the European Union. More intense cross-country interactions may also lead to convergence or smaller divergence. Furthermore, having a common historical background, such as religion and language, as well as openness to cultural change would moderate the patterns.
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