The premise of the cultural congruence hypothesis is that the level of congruence between democratic values among the public and in political institutions of a country is an important indication of political stability: the greater the congruence, the greater the stability. Though this hypothesis was proposed almost fifty years ago, it has never been fully examined. A crucial weakness of the hypothesis is that it is blind to the direction of incongruence: instability increases if the public has either more or less freedom relative to their expectations. But based on what we learn from Prospect Theory, one may expect to find different behaviors in these two situations. The empirical analyses that follow confirm this expectation. The article also evaluates the congruence hypothesis in light of the institutional hypothesis. Rather than seeing these hypotheses as competing, the authors claim that it is more productive to focus on the interaction between them, thus improving their understanding of political stability.
Item Citation: Journal of Conflict Resolution. April 2013, Vol. 57 Issue 2, 232-257Accession Number: edsgcl.338350463; Publication Type: Academic Journal; Source: Journal of Conflict Resolution; Language: English; Publication Date: 20130401; Rights: Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.; Imprint: Sage Publications, Inc.