Do voters punish governments more severely during international economic crises or do they discount exogenous shocks as they recognize the government’s limited “room of manoeuvre”? The current literature provides conflicting answers to this question. This study argues that in such contexts citizens’ economic perceptions are less likely to predict their sanctioning behavior but that, nonetheless, governments experience a higher cost of ruling. We show that in the paradigmatic case of Italy, government popularity during the Great Recession, while being hardly explained by economic evaluations, suffers a stronger decline as a function of time in office. We account for this increased cost of ruling by economic policy debates and other political events, such as cabinet crises and large-scale scandals.
The purpose of the article is to analyze the social competitiveness of young people in the context of their ideas about their socio-cultural environment. The socio-cultural environment in the study is represented by the respondents’ perceptions about the predominance of a certain type of society at three levels: Russia as a whole, the region, the enterprise (educational institution). The social competitiveness of young people has only scarcely been studied by sociologists. In the article, this phenomenon is seen as the ability of social actors to achieve their goals in a society in the conditions of competition with other people. The empirical basis of this research is a representative survey, conducted in 2016 in the Krasnoyarsk Territory using formalized interviews among 1000 respondents. The article shows that the most competitive youth are those who perceive their socio-cultural macro environment (Russian society) as either pre-industrial, feudal or industrial, capitalistic one. It is established that there are two opposing in their meaning forms of the moral and value environment of the young people in the region, each of which ensures the high social competitiveness of a certain part of the youth. In particular, the socio-cultural environment of the competitiveness of young people corresponds to the contemporary state of Russian society. On the contrary, many adult actors continue to live in the socio-cultural context of the past era. It is concluded that the socio-cultural environment of the activity is specific for various social actors, and the identification of mechanisms of determination of social success is a promising area for further research.
This review highlights sociological approaches to the definition and measurement of cultural consumption. Studies regarding this issue are based on the supposition that cultural preferences depend on social position and, therefore, reflect social structure. Nevertheless, despite the long history of cultural consumption research and the existence of numerous studies addressing this topic, the notion is still vague. Several approaches may be found in the literature. Cultural consumption is analyzed as a part of lifestyle that is dependent on class structure. This framework is related to the distinction between highbrow and lowbrow activities and tastes, where each set of choices is only relevant for a particular class. Criticism and further development of this approach is related to the reevaluation of both the structure of cultural consumption and the basis for distinction. More recent studies have addressed not only the symbolic value of cultural products but have also looked at the range of cultural preferences and the intensity of cultural activities. Along with this, papers tackling the modes of cultural consumption are also present. However, existing papers vary in terms of employing these approaches. On the one hand, the definitions are different; studies analyze practices, tastes, or experiences. On the other hand, researchers use different variables and scales to measure cultural consumption.
The literature on group differences and social identities has long assumed that value judgments about groups constitute a basic form of social categorization. However, little research has empirically investigated how values unite or divide social groups. The authors seek to address this gap by developing a novel measure of group values: third-order beliefs about in- and out-group members, building on Schwartz value theory. The authors demonstrate that their new measure is a promising empirical tool for quantifying previously abstract social boundaries. Results from a midwestern sample show an important dichotomy such that in-groups were attributed the more positive and altruistic transcendence and openness values, while out-groups were associated conservation and enhancement, the value domains revolving around a self-focus and social restraint. Furthermore, religious attendance and political ideology also emerged as strong predictors of value boundaries, whereas socioeconomic indicators were less influential. Significance and implications are discussed.
Quality of life and one’s subjective evaluation of one’s own happiness and well-being are the conventional focus of psychology and sociology. However, a genetic factor has recently been found to affect the subjective evaluation of well-being. The contribution of heredity to a personal level of happiness and life satisfaction has been estimated at 30–50% in twin studies. Individual genes associated with these traits have been identified, but the available data are rather discrepant. In this work, alleles of the monoamine oxidase A gene (MAOA) were tested for association with well-being components, such as happiness, health, dangers of living environment, and stress, in Russian men. Trait assessments were based on questionnaires filled out as part of the World Values Survey. It is shown that, among the uVNTR-3R allele carriers, the proportion of men who have high levels of stress, feel unhappy, and live in unsafe environments is lower. The results are discussed in the context of the gene plasticity concept, which provides a possible explanation for how expression of genes related to behavior changes in different environmental conditions.
Using a new measure of “comprehensive democracy,” our analysis traces the global democratic trend over the last 116 years, from 1900 until 2016, looking in particular at the centennial trend’s cultural zoning. As it turns out, democracy has been proceeding and continues to differentiate the world’s nations in a strongly culture-bound manner: high levels of democracy remain a distinctive feature of nations in which emancipative values have grown strong over the generations. By the same token, backsliding and autocratization are limited to cultures with under-developed emancipative values. In line with this finding, public support for democracy neither favours democratization, nor does it prevent autocratization in disjunction from emancipative values. On the contrary, public support for democracy shows such pro-democratic effects if – and only if – it co-exists in close association with emancipative values. The reason is that – in disconnect from emancipative values – support for democracy frequently reverts its meaning, indicating the exact opposite of what intuition suggests: namely, support for autocracy. In conclusion, the prospects for democracy are bleak where emancipative values remain weak.
Today’s Russia is a hostile environment for genuine political activity, and especially for movements that aim at changing the current power structure. This is due to the factually limited manoeuvre space of oppositional actors who face obstacles in the form of repression, surveillance and restricted access to the public sphere. Moreover, society is largely apolitical, with political activity often considered futile, immoral, or dangerous. In this profile, we portray the electoral campaign of the opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, who built a popular movement around his bid to participate in the 2018 presidential elections. Although the campaign failed to build up sufficient pressure for Navalny to be granted access to the elections, and despite the strong hierarchy inside his campaign, we argue that it contributed to the politicization of parts of the younger generation in the country’s provinces – which may have greater long-term effects than any concrete projects envisioned or controlled by the campaign’s strategists.
In the early 1990s, the Russian public held overwhelmingly favorable attitudes toward the United States; in recent years, attitudes toward the United States have been overwhelmingly unfavorable. Analysts often trace this dramatic change to (1) the emergence of Russian-American conflicts such as those in former Yugoslavia and (2) Russian leaders’ attempts to escape blame for their country’s failures by attributing them to a powerful external enemy. We point to another major factor of Russian anti-Americanism that preceded the international conflicts and the government-led anti-American propaganda: (3) disillusionment, or an emotional and ideological dissatisfaction with the outcome of pro-Western reforms that started among the liberal elites and then spread among the general public. Using data from the New Russian Barometer surveys, we analyze the dynamics of attitudes toward the United States from 1993 to 2009. We find that mass disappointment in the perestroika outcomes preceded the spread of anti-Americanism in Russia and that anti-American sentiment was stronger and occurred earlier among the elite than among the mass public. Furthermore, those (especially better-educated) people who express disappointment with the outcomes of pro-Western reforms prove significantly more anti-American. Our findings illustrate a general ideological phenomenon that may explain the growth of anti-Americanism in unsuccessful democracies worldwide.
Following a normative approach that suggests international norms and standards for elections apply universally, regardless of regime type or cultural context, this book examines the challenges to electoral integrity, the actors involved, and the consequences of electoral malpractice and poor electoral integrity that vary by regime type. It bridges the literature on electoral integrity with that of political regime types.
Looking specifically at questions of innovation and learning, corruption and organized crime, political efficacy and turnout, the threat of electoral violence and protest, and finally, the possibility of regime change, it seeks to expand the scholarly understanding of electoral integrity and diverse regimes by exploring the diversity of challenges to electoral integrity, the diversity of actors that are involved and the diversity of consequences that can result.
This text will be of key interest to scholars, students and practitioners of electoral studies, and more broadly of relevance to comparative politics, international development, political behaviour and democracy, democratization, and autocracy.
Authoritarian regimes differ by the degree to which the leader is constrained in his ability to influence the decision-making process. It has been argued that unlimited executive can either lead to adverse economic policy outcomes or improve economic performance. In this work, I reassess the effect of executive constraints on economic performance. While most of the previous research in this area focuses on regime typologies, I use observable indicators of power personalisation in 90 autocratic countries from 1960-2010 and estimate their effect on economic performance. I focus on power concentration, the extent of the decision-making power of chief executives and leaders’ ability to dismiss the elites form political institutions as the indicators for measuring leaders’ ability to influence the decision-making process. I discover that countries, where leaders are able to stay in office longer and are able to change the cabinet, concentrate more power in their hands and tend to be more opportunistic. The results imply that strong leaders establish such power-sharing mode that allows them to act in a self-interest way.
The paper is devoted to the issue to what extent mass media produces strong attitudes in an authoritarian political environment. A growing body of research scrutinize how contemporary autocracies use media to promote legitimizing messages and undermine opposition. This study contributes to the literature by showing whether public opinion formed under authoritarianism is strong in the face of counter-framing. While Russian state-owned TV-channels extensively promoted the idea that Donald Trump’s victory will be positive for Russian-American relations, we run an experimental study with various treatments. We revealed two major findings: (1) participants are strongly exposed to counter-framing, (2) those who watch news on state-owned TV-channels are more susceptible to the counter-framing effect.
We measured if a gamified design of a web survey can improve accuracy in understanding of risk and risk calculation among adolescents aged 11–15 years. We collected data from 213 respondents. They were randomly assigned to one of the two conditions: a traditional web survey and a gamified web survey (gamified design). The gamified design increased risk understanding and accuracy in risk calculation in cognitively demanding questions. A positive effect of the gamified design varied depending on the risk literacy of the participants. In addition, the gamified design increased perception of risk as more serious and at the same time slightly decreased the ratio-bias effect (the effect with a larger denominator producing higher risk evaluation than a smaller denominator).
The roots and routes of cultural evolution are still a mystery. Here, we aim to lift a corner of that veil by illuminating the deep origins of encultured freedoms, which evolved through centuries-long processes of learning to pursue and transmit values and practices oriented towards autonomous individual choice. Analyzing a multitude of data sources, we unravel for 108 Old World countries a sequence of cultural evolution reaching from (a) ancient climates suitable for dairy farming to (b) lactose tolerance at the eve of the colonial era to (c) resources that empowered people in the early industrial era to (d) encultured freedoms today. Historically, lactose tolerance peaks under two contrasting conditions: cold winters and cool summers with steady rain versus hot summers and warm winters with extensive dry periods (Study 1). However, only the cold/wet variant of these two conditions links lactose tolerance at the eve of the colonial era to empowering resources in early industrial times, and to encultured freedoms today (Study 2). We interpret these findings as a form of gene-culture coevolution within a novel thermo-hydraulic theory of freedoms.
While grids or matrix questions are a widely used format in PC web surveys, there is no agreement on the format in mobile web surveys. We conducted a two-wave experiment in an opt in panel in Russia, varying the question format (grid format and item-by-item format) and device respondents used for survey completion (smartphone and PC). The 1,678 respondents completed the survey in the assigned conditions in the first wave and 1,079 in the second wave. Overall, we found somewhat higher measurement error in the grid format in both mobile and PC web conditions. We found almost no significant effect of the question format on test–retest correlations between the latent scores in two waves and no differences in breakoff rates between the question formats. The multigroup comparison showed some measurement equivalence between the question formats. However, the difference varied depending on the length of a scale with a longer scale producing some differences in the measurement equivalence between the conditions. The levels of straightlining were higher in the grid than in the item-by-item format. In addition, concurrent validity was lower in the grid format in both PC and mobile web conditions. Finally, subjective indicators of respondent burden showed that the grid format increased reported technical difficulties and decreased subjective evaluation of the survey.
Since three decades, scholars focus on generalized interpersonal trust as the key component of social capital and there is wide consensus that trust in strangers is the prime indicator of how general people’s trust in others is. However, little work with a specific focus on trust in strangers has been conducted in a comparative, multilevel framework. The few existing studies are inconclusive because of deficiencies in both conceptualization and test strategy. Filling this gap, this article examines the determinants of trust in strangers on the broadest country base ever used in the study of trust, drawing on global cross-cultural evidence from the fifth and sixth rounds of the World Values Surveys--the first international surveys to include a direct question on trust in strangers. Reaching beyond conventional wisdom about the sources of generalized trust, we demonstrate that human empowerment at the country level is a forceful moderator of well-known individual-level determinants of trust. Specifically, in countries with lagging human empowerment, institutional trust, trust in known people and material satisfaction are the only individual-level characteristics that enhance trust in strangers. We also detect an unexpected negative effect of education where human empowerment is lagging. In sharp contrast, in countries with advanced human empowerment, a much broader set of individual-level characteristics increases trust in strangers. This set includes ethnic tolerance, membership in voluntary associations, social movement activity, emancipative values, subjective well-being, age and education. These insights inform a multilevel theory of trust, showing that human empowerment operates as a contextual activator of individual trust promoters.
New drivers of Russian nationalism appeared in the 1990s, making possible either – as a reaction to globalisation – a return to an imperial nationalism, or – in response to ethnic conflict – a rise in ethnic nationalism. This chapter analyses the changing balance of elite and mass preferences and their influence on the choices made by the Russian government. The attitudes of the elite shifted recently in favour of imperial projects beyond Russia’s borders, in a sharp reversal of a long-term post-Soviet trend. Another long-term trend has recently accelerated: that of valuing military might over economic power in international relations. Anti-Muslim sentiment simmering across the Russian Federation might inspire ethnic nationalism. However, the chapter shows that mass-level attitudes towards Muslims correlate negatively with attitudes towards the USA. Given the current level of anti-US sentiment, the ethnic scenario therefore seems unlikely, for the moment.
Internet regulation in Russia has vigorously expanded in recent years to transform the relatively free communication environment of the 2000s into a heavily regulated one. Our goal was to identify the topic structure of Russian media discourse on Internet regulation and compare it between political and non-political media outlets. We used structural topic modeling on 7,240 texts related to Internet regulation that appeared in the Russian media in 2009-2017. We discovered the non-linear dynamics and the larger share of political media covering Internet regulation over years and compared the topics specific to political and non-political media outlets. We found out that most topics had a different share between political and non-political media and that discourse on law belongs largely to the political media. We also identified four clusters in the topics of media coverage of Internet regulation in Russia related to the law, norms, politics, and business, and the time references of particular topics. In addition, we show the parallel dynamics of the topics on site blockings and political opposition and provide the background on legislation and public opinion on Internet regulation in Russia. Our results demonstrate a rather politicized nature of Internet regulation and its connection to a broader political context in Russia.
Russia first introduced Internet regulation in 2012 with site blockings and then progressed to personal data retention and ban on VPNs. This makes an interesting case because online media had spread and established a parallel political agenda in Russia in the 2000s, before the onset of regulations. The focus of this study is the contents and dynamics of media coverage of Internet regulation in Russia over years, particularly the topics covered and the countries involved. It uses topic modeling and social network analysis to analyze 6,140 texts from Russia's largest mass media collection. The automatic modeling approach helps obtain reproducible evidence on the structure and actors of the otherwise highly politicized discourse. The study demonstrated, first, the growing interest of Russian media to Internet regulation, with comparable shares of state-controlled and private media in this discourse. Second, it revealed the structure of 50 topics arranging into nine clusters, from gambling to international relations, with one dominant network segment spanning over five clusters. Third, it identified groups of countries by their appearance in the texts and co-appearance in one text as 'communities' of countries that can 'put on the map' the discourse on certain topics of Internet regulation in Russia.