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2 HD Dynamics Background

HD postulates a complex modernization process where value orientations drive an individual's level of existential security and change in predictable ways given shifts in existential security. HD theory provides a framework in which economic development, societal wealth and human needs create generalizable shifts in cultural predispositions and political behavior [17-19] [33].

HD theory expands upon economic drivers from neoclassical growth theory [30, 31] [6] commonly attributed to high growth paths and convergence [21] [27]. Such approaches specify detailed and interactive vectors of economic determinants, country and time-specific effects separately [10]; HD theory fuses cultural, social and political development process into economic growth (Y) dynamics.

Rational-secular (RS) cultural values correspond to individuals' growing emphasis on technical, mechanical, rational, and bureaucratic views of the world. During economic industrialization phases, cultural dispositions tend to progress from an emphasis on traditional pre-industrial values—often measured in terms of religious ceremony attendance—to secular world views, transferring authority from traditional religious figures to technological progress and bureaucratic political life.

Self-expressive (SE) social values corresponds to the post-industrial phase of economic development where the wealth and advanced welfare system generated by education, increased productivity and service-related economic activities provides individuals with an overwhelming sense of existential security [7] and the freedom to seek self-expression and demand political participation. Self-expression values promote liberal political institutions through two mechanisms. First, to the extent that there is incongruence between cultural demand for, and political supply of, liberal institutions, individuals are more or less prone to elite-challenging activity [16] [13]. Second, self-expression values support the social acceptance of basic democratic norms such as trust and political participation. The end result is a gradual transition toward democratization in autocratic nations and more effective political representation in democratic nations [19].

Lastly, HD theory expects democratic (D) political values to exhibit positive feedbacks with economic progress, based on previous work on liberal institutions and economic development [12] [9] [14] [2]. Declining economic conditions reintroduce the primacy of basic needs, fueling conditions for more traditional value orientations and less self-expression. Disequilibrium between culturally defined political expectations and political realities promotes and provides motivation for revolutionary change.

The HD perspective suggests a staged process in which rising level of existential security via economic development leads to an increased emphasis on rational-secular and self-expression values. However, these effects are neither linear nor monotonic, as we see strong reversion towards autocratic institutional preferences in survival-minded societies. Democratic norms and institutions that outpace economic progress are inherently unstable with a persistent, turbulent reversion processes, even at high levels of democratic norms and existential security. This suggests that societies experiencing democratization can frequently expect punctuated reversals and revolutions towards more autocratic institutions until more sustainable economic growth and democratic institutions re-emerge.

Fig. 1. HD Phase Portraits (Source: Abdollahian et al 2012)

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