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Culture and constitutional compliance

Jerg Gutmann, Anna Lewczuk, Jacek Lewkowicz and Stefan Voigt

Does culture matter for the degree to which a constitution is complied with? Constitutions have important economic and political effects. Yet, there is only scant knowledge about why constitutions set effective constraints on politicians in some societies, while being largely disregarded in others. In this paper, we ask if culture matters for constitutional compliance. We develop a number of hypotheses regarding cultural traits that are conducive to constitutional compliance and test them. Our empirical results suggest that societies with individualistic and nonhierarchical cultures exhibit higher levels of compliance with the constitution. These findings suggest a novel transmission channel from cultural traits to long-term economic development: constitutional compliance.

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