Source Publication (e.g., journal title)

Royal Society open science

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2020

Abstract

In the centuries since the enlightenment, the world has seen an increase in socioeconomic development, measured as increased life expectancy, education, economic development and democracy. While the co-occurrence of these features among nations is well documented, little is known about their origins or co-evolution. Here, we compare this growth of prosperity in nations to the historical record of cultural values in the twentieth century, derived from global survey data. We find that two cultural factors, secular-rationality and cosmopolitanism, predict future increases in GDP per capita, democratization and secondary education enrollment. The converse is not true, however, which indicates that secular- rationality and cosmopolitanism are among the preconditions for socioeconomic development to emerge.

Submission Type

Publisher's Version

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