• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Cultural factors of and barriers to modernization

Priority areas of development: sociology

The goal of this project is to further develop – and adjust where necessary – the modernization theory. The laboratory for comparative social research (LCSR) is founded by Ronald Inglehart who is the author, along with Christian Welzel, of a particular version of the modernization theory. He is also the founder of the World Values Survey, an international project that has collected data from more than a hundred countries representing more than 90% of the world’s population since 1981. The focus of the lab’s research is the process of modernization in various conditions, time periods, and societies. Even though the process of modernization is very diverse, there is a distinct common pattern. The modernization theory in the version of Inglehart and Welzel views the social evolution as a three-stage process. Its starting point is improvement of living standards, which makes people’s existence secure. This development leads to a shift from survival (materialist) values to self-expression (post-materialist) values. The value shift, in its turn, affects political change.

The lab’s main method is statistical analysis of the data collected by the World Values Survey and other comparative projects, such as European Value Study, European Social Survey and the Life in Transition surveys. Additionally, LCSR has its own data collected in Russian provinces and using both traditional survey methodology and novel experiments.

This report presents the following results, arranged in seven chapters, that the lab achieved in 2018.

1) The first chapter critically re-evaluates the Emancipative Values Index (EVI) proposed by Christian Welzel. EVI measures the cultural component of modernization. Using state-of-the-art methods, we test EVI’s measurement invariance, that is whether respondents in various countries understand the questions in the same way so that their responses are comparable across countries. We show that only one component of EVI corresponds to this criterion. Therefore, we recommend to use this particular component as the yardstick for cross-country comparisons.

2) The second chapter investigates the association between news consumption, including from the Internet, and trust within various political regimes. Trust is a major factor and a necessary component of modernization. We use the so called generalized trust measure, which is traditionally used in mass surveys. We show that consumption of internet news has diverging effects on trust in democratic and authoritarian regimes. Also, consumers of TV news in authoritarian societies exhibit higher levels of trust compared to the similar audiences in democracies.

3) The third chapter investigates corruption, which is a major barrier to modernization. We distinguish between network and market corruption. The former is based on closed-access networks of privilege whereas the latter is open to all and is apparently the lesser evil. We investigate the patterns of corruption in post-socialist countries based on the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the Life in Transition surveys.

4) The fourth chapter examines the subnational variation of attitudes toward migrants in Russia. Geographic mobility, including across national borders, is an important part of modernization. It is, oftentimes, a major challenge to the involved societies as well. This chapter investigates the factors of intolerance toward migrants based on subnational surveys involving 3,000 respondents.

5) The fifth chapter investigates the trends and factors of anti-American sentiment in Russia. We show that the U-turn of the Russian public opinion with respect to the U.S. between 1993 and 2009 is a part of a larger shift caused by the failure of pro-Western reforms in the 1990s. It reflects the disillusionment of a large segment of the mass and elite publics in the Western liberal model, which used to be much admired at the start of the reform.

6) The sixth chapter analyzes ethnic discrimination in the Russian labor market. It is based on a field experiment – the so called correspondence test – the first of its kind in Russia, involving circulation of fictitious resumes to employers. We find significant differences in employers’ ethnic preferences across Russian provinces. While there is ethnic discrimination against certain minorities in Moscow and St. Petersburg, there is none in the ethnically diverse cities of Ufa and Kazan. Furthermore, we do not find the effect of occupation on discrimination.

7) The seventh chapter analyzes gender attitudes of Muslim migrants in Western Europe and compares them with those of the general populations in their countries of origin and destination. The change of traditional gender roles toward greater gender equality is an important factor of modernization. We show that the attitudes of Muslim migrants with respect to female labor force participation are generally similar, although slightly more conservative, to those of the general European publics. They are more liberal by far than the attitudes in their countries of origin.


Shirokanova A., Silyutina O. Internet Regulation Media Coverage in Russia: Topics and Countries, in: WebSci'18 Proceedings of the 10th ACM Conference on Web Science. New York : ACM, 2018. С. 359-363. 
Гуреев А. С., Ананьева Е. Д., Рубанович А. В., Инглхарт Р. Ф., Понарин Э. Д., Боринская С. А. АССОЦИАЦИЯ uVNTR-АЛЛЕЛЕЙ ГЕНА MAOA С СУБЪЕКТИВНОЙ ОЦЕНКОЙ БЛАГОПОЛУЧИЯ У МУЖЧИН // Генетика. 2017. Т. 54. № 5. C. 556-562. doi
Алмакаева А. М., Климова А. М. Модернизационные процессы в России: ожидать ли сдвига в сторону эмансипативных ценностей? // Мониторинг общественного мнения: Экономические и социальные перемены. 2018. Т. 6. C. 91-112. doi
Van d. V. E., Welzel C., Scherbak A. N., Fischer R., Alexander A. C. Got Milk? How Freedoms Evolved from Dairying Climates // Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. 2018. Vol. 49. No. 7. P. 1048-1065. doi
Волченко О. В., Алмакаева А. М. Динамика социального капитала в России // Мониторинг общественного мнения: Экономические и социальные перемены. 2018. Т. 4. C. 273-292. doi
Gureev A. S., Ananieva E. D., Rubanovich A. V., Inglehart R. F., Ponarin E., Borinskaya S. Association of MAOA-uVNTR Polymorphism with Subjective Well-Being in Men // Генетика. 2018. Vol. 54. No. 5. P. 562-567. doi
Mavletova A. M., undefined., Lebedev D. Grid and Item-by-Item Formats in PC and Mobile Web Surveys // Social Science Computer Review. 2018. Vol. 36. No. 6. P. 647-668. doi
Dollbaum J. M., Semenov A., Sirotkina E. A top-down movement with grass-roots effects? Alexei Navalny’s electoral campaign // Social Movement Studies. 2018. Vol. 17. No. 5. P. 618-625. doi
Sokolov B., Inglehart R., Ponarin E., Vartanova I., Zimmerman W. Disillusionment and Anti-Americanism in Russia: From Pro-American to Anti-American Attitudes, 1993–2009 // International Studies Quarterly. 2018. Vol. 62. No. 3. P. 534-547. doi
Sokolov, B. The Index of Emancipative Values: Measurement Model Misspecifications // American Political Science Review. 2018. Vol. 112. No. 2. P. 395-408. doi
Shirokanova Anna, Silyutina Olga Internet Regulation: A Text-based Approach to Media Coverage, in: Digital Transformation and Global Society Third International Conference, DTGS 2018, St. Petersburg, Russia, May 30 –June 2, 2018, Revised Selected Papers, Part I. Cham : Springer, 2018. С. 181-194. 
Ponarin E., Komin M. Imperial and ethnic nationalism: A dilemma of the Russian elite, in: Russia Before and After Crimea.: Edinburgh University Press, 2018. С. 50-67. 
Brunkert L. J., Kruse S., Welzel C. A tale of culture-bound regime evolution: the centennial democratic trend and its recent reversal // Democratization. 2019. Vol. 26. No. 3. P. 422-443. doi
Костенко В. В., Понарин Э. Д., Стребкова О. Н. Влияние исторических процессов на гендерные установки в странах Арабского Востока // Восток. Афро-Азиатские общества: история и современность. 2019. № 2. C. 126-146. doi
Sirotkina E., Zavadskaya M. How to Get Away with Murder in Russia: Political Support in the Times of Crisis. Evidence from the survey experiment / National research university Higher School of economics. Series WP BRP "Basic research program". 2017. No. WP BRP 47/PS/2017.