Political culture and democracy: analyzing crosslevel linkages

Research output: Journal contributionsScientific review articlesResearch


Do individual-level attitudes play a significant role in sustaining democratic institutions at the societal level? In a recent article in Comparative Politics, Seligson argued that the strong aggregate-level correlations Inglehart found between political culture and stable democracy were spurious because there are no individual-level correlations between political culture and overt support for democracy. Seligson's analysis exemplifies the sort of cross-level fallacy he attributes to Inglehart: he equates individual-level support for democracy with the presence of democratic institutions. However, individual-level support of democracy is only weakly linked with societal-level democracy. Democracy currently has a positive image almost everywhere, but favorable opinions are often superficial. Unless they are accompanied by more deeply rooted orientations of tolerance, trust, and participation, chances for effective democracy are poor.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComparative Politics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)61-79
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2003
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Politics - democracy, Freedom, Voting, Economic development, Elites, Political attitudes, unemployment, Nazism, Economics analysis, Political corruption