Rice farming, culture and democracy

James B. Ang, Jakob B. Madsen, Wen Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper proposes that societies with a rice farming legacy tend to be less democratic today than societies with a wheat farming legacy. We argue that rice cultivation is associated with the adoption of a collectivist culture, which in turn fosters greater conformity pressures on political norms and deters democratization. Conversely, a wheat farming legacy leads to the development of individualism, which in turn promotes democracy. Using the rice-wheat suitability ratio for a sample of 146 countries as an exogenous variable for rice farming culture, we find that the rice-wheat suitability ratio is a deep-rooted determinant for the formation of democratic institutions through a culture of collectivism vs. individualism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103778
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Volume136
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Rice farming, culture and democracy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this