Hostname: page-component-758b78586c-kdfvs Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-11-28T09:27:18.277Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Do Asian Values Exist? Empirical Tests of the Four Dimensions of Asian Values

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 March 2016


The Asian values debate has been long on speculative advocacy but short on empirical validation, with statistical tests emerging only lately. This study explores two questions: whether Asians indeed hold distinct cultural attitudes when compared with non-Asians and whether these cultural attitudes and beliefs identified as Asian values form coherent dimensions among Asians. The study first identifies four dimensions of Asian values based on a review of various Asian values discourses: familism, communalism, authority orientations, and work ethic. The findings from the empirical analysis based on multilevel models and factor analysis return mixed support for the Asian values hypothesis. Although East Asian respondents do exhibit strong work-related values compared with those from other regions, commitment to familial values and authoritarian orientations are actually lower among East Asians. Also, while preference for strong leadership and parental duty do turn out to form distinct sets of attitudes among South and Southeast Asians, the four dimensions do not constitute a clear value complex in the minds of East Asians.

Copyright © East Asia Institute 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Ackerly, Brooke. 2005. “Is Liberalism the Only Way Toward Democracy? Confucianism and Democracy.” Political Theory 33, 4: 547576.Google Scholar
Ahn, Chung-Si, and Kang, Won-Taek. 2002. “Trust and Confidence in Government in Transitional Democracies: South Korea in Comparative Perspective.” Journal of Korean Politics 11: 340.Google Scholar
Apodaca, Clair. 2002. “The Globalization of Capital in East and Southeast Asia: Measuring the Impact on Human Rights Standards.” Asian Survey 42, 6: 883905.Google Scholar
Bell, Daniel. 1997. “A Communitarian Critique of Authoritarianism: The Case of Singapore.” Political Theory 25: 632.Google Scholar
Bell, Daniel. 2000. East Meets West: Human Rights and Democracy in East Asia. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Bell, Daniel, Brown, David, Jayasuriya, Kanishka, and Jones, David M. 1995. Towards Illiberal Democracy in Pacific Asia. New York: St. Martin's Press.Google Scholar
Cha, Seong Hwan. 2003. “Myth and Reality in the Discourse of Confucian Capitalism in Korea.” Asian Survey 43, 3: 485506.Google Scholar
Chu, Yun-han, Diamond, Larry, Nathan, Andrew, and Shin, Doh Chull. 2008. How East Asians View Democracy. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Dalton, Russell, and Ong, Nhu-Ngoc. 2005. “Authority Orientations and Democratic Attitudes: A Test of the ‘Asian Values’ Hypothesis.” Japanese Journal of Political Science 6: 211231.Google Scholar
Dalton, Russell, and Shin, Doh Chull. 2003. “Democratic Aspirations and Democratic Ideals: Citizen Orientations Toward Democracy in East Asia.Manuscript.Google Scholar
Dalton, Russell, and Shin, Doh Chull, eds. 2006a. Citizens, Democracy, and Markets Around the Pacific Rim: Congruence Theory and Political Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Dalton, Russell, and Shin, Doh Chull. 2006b. “Weber's Theory of Capitalism in Confucian East Asia.” In Citizens, Democracy, and Markets Around the Pacific Rim: Congruence Theory and Political Culture, ed. Dalton, Russell and Shin, Doh Chull. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
De Bary, William Theodore. 1998. Asian Values and Human Rights: A Confucian Communitarian Perspective. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Emmerson, Donald K. 1995. “Singapore and the ‘Asian Values’ Debate.” Journal of Democracy 6, 4: 95105.Google Scholar
Flanagan, Scott, and Lee, Aie-Rie. 2000. “Value Change and Democratic Reform in Japan and Korea.” Comparative Political Studies 33: 626659.Google Scholar
Fox, Russell A. 1997. “Confucian and Communitarian Responses to Liberal Democracy.” Review of Politics 59, 3: 561592.Google Scholar
Fukuyama, Francis. 1995a. Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
Fukuyama, Francis. 1995b. “Confucianism and Democracy.” Journal of Democracy 6, 2: 2033.Google Scholar
Fukuyama, Francis. 2001. “Social Capital, Civil Society, and Development.” Third World Quarterly 22, 1: 720.Google Scholar
Goh, Chok Tong. 1994. “Social Values, Singapore Style.” Current History, December.Google Scholar
Granato, Jim, Inglehart, Ronald, and Leblang, David. 1996. “The Effects of Cultural Values on Economic Development: Theory, Hypotheses, and Some Empirical Tests.” American Journal of Political Science 40: 607631.Google Scholar
Hampden-Turner, Charles, and Trompenaars, Fons. 2001. Mastering the Infinite Game: How East Asian Values Are Transforming Business Practices. Oxford: Capstone Publishing.Google Scholar
Han, Sung-Joo. 1999. “Asian Values: An Asset or a Liability?” In Changing Values in Asia: Their Impact on Governance and Development, ed. Han, Sung-Joo. Tokyo: Japan Center for International Exchange.Google Scholar
Harrison, Lawrence E., and Huntington, Samuel P. 2000. Culture Matters: How Values Shape Human Progress. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
Hitchcock, David. 1994. Asian Values and the United States: How Much Conflict? Washington: Center for Strategic and International Studies.Google Scholar
Hood, Stephen. 1998. “The Myth of Asian-Style Democracy.” Asian Survey 38, 9: 853866.Google Scholar
Huntington, Samuel. 1996. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
Ibrahim, Anwar. 2006. “Universal Values and Muslim Democracy.” Journal of Democracy 17, 3: 512.Google Scholar
Inglehart, Ronald. 1977. The Silent Revolution: Changing Values and Political Styles Among Western Publics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Inglehart, Ronald. 1997. Modernization and Postmodernization: Cultural, Economic, and Political Changes in 43 Societies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Inglehart, Ronald, and Norris, Pippa. 2003. “The True Clash of Civilizations.” Foreign Policy, March 1: 6270.Google Scholar
Kausikan, Bilahari. 1993. “Asia's Different Standard.” Foreign Policy, Fall.Google Scholar
Kausikan, Bilahari. 1998. “The ‘Asian Values’ Debate: A View from Singapore.” In Democracy in East Asia, ed. Diamond, Larry and Plattner, Marc F. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Kim, Dae Jung. 1994. “A Response to Lee Kuan Yew: Is Culture Destiny? The Myth of Asia's Anti-Democratic Values.” Foreign Affairs 73, 4.Google Scholar
Kim, Yung-Myung. 1997. “Asian-Style Democracy: A Critique from East Asia.” Asian Survey 37, 12: 11191134.Google Scholar
Lasswell, Harold, Lerner, Daniel, and Montgomery, John D. 1976. Values and Development: Appraising Asian Experience. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
Lee, Junhan. 2002. “Primary Causes of Asian Democratization: Dispelling Conventional Myths.” Asian Survey 42, 6: 821837.Google Scholar
Lee, Kuan Yew. 1994. “Culture Is Destiny.” Foreign Affairs 73, 2.Google Scholar
Lee, Seung-hwan. 2000. “Asian Values and the Future of the Confucian Culture.” East Asian Review 12, 1: 311.Google Scholar
Luke, Douglas A. 2004. Multilevel Modeling. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
Mendez, Errol P. n.d.Asian Values and Human Rights: Letting the Tigers Free.Manuscript.Google Scholar
Pye, Lucian, and Pye, Mary. 1985. Asian Power and Politics: Cultural Dimensions of Authority. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Rozman, Gilbert, ed. 1991. The East Asian Region: Confucian Heritage and Its Modern Adaptation. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Said, Edward. 1978. Orientalism. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
Scalapino, Robert. 1989. The Politics of Development: Perspectives on Twentieth Century Asia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Seah, Chee-Meow, ed. 1977. Asian Values and Modernization. Singapore: Singapore University Press.Google Scholar
Sen, Amartya. 1997. “Human Rights and Asian Values: What Lee Kuan Yew and Le Peng Don't Understand About Asia.” The New Republic 217: 23.Google Scholar
Swank, Duane. 1996. “Culture, Institutions, and Economic Growth: Theory, Evidence, and the Role of Communitarian Politics.” American Journal of Political Science 40, 3: 660679.Google Scholar
Thompson, Mark R. 2000. “The Survival of ‘Asian Values’ as ‘Zivilisationskritik.”’ Theory and Society 29, 5: 651686.Google Scholar
Thompson, Mark R. 2001. “Whatever Happened to ‘Asian Values’?Journal of Democracy 12: 154165.Google Scholar
Tu, Wei-ming. 1984. Confucian Ethics Today: The Singapore Challenge. Singapore: Federal Publications and CDIS.Google Scholar
Tu, Wei-ming. 1991. “A Confucian Perspective on the Rise of Industrial East Asia.” In Confucianism and the Modernization of China, ed. Krieger, Silke and Trauzettel, Rolf. Mainz: Hase & Koehler.Google Scholar
Wang, Zhengxu, and Tan, Ern-Ser. 2006. “Self-Expression, Asian Values, and Democracy: East Asia in Global Perspective.” In Citizens, Democracy, and Markets Around the Pacific Rim: Congruence Theory and Political Culture, ed. Dalton, Russell J. and Shin, Doh Chull. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
World Values Survey Association. 2005. The World Values Survey (Wave IV). Data available at Scholar
Zakaria, Fareed. 2002. “Asian Values.” Foreign Policy, November 1: 3839.Google Scholar