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Is the Importance of Religion in Daily Life Related to Social Trust? Cross-Country and Cross-State Comparisons

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Author Info

  • Berggren, Niclas

    ()
    (The Ratio Institute)

  • Bjørnskov, Christian

    ()
    (Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University)

Abstract

We look at the effect of religiosity on social trust, defined as the share of a population that thinks that people in general can be trusted. This is important since social trust is related to many desired outcomes, such as growth, education, democratic stability and subjective well-being. The effect of religiosity is theoretically unclear: while all major religions call for behaving well to others, religious groups may primarily trust people in their own groups and distrust others, as well as cause division in the broader population. We make use of new data from the Gallup World Poll for 105 countries and the U.S. states, measuring religiosity by the share of the population that answers yes to the question “Is religion an important part of your daily life?”. Our empirical results, making use of regression analysis whereby we control for other possible determinants of social trust and, by using instrumental variables, for the risk of reverse causality, indicate a robust, negative effect of religiosity, both internationally and within the US.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Ratio Institute in its series Ratio Working Papers with number 142.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 25 Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming as Berggren, Niclas and Christian Bjørnskov, 'Does Religiosity Promote or Discourage Social Trust? Evidence from Cross-Country and Cross-State Comparisons' in Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2011.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0142

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Keywords: Trust; Religiosity; Religion; Social Capital;

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References

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. On the impact of religion on social trust
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-11-13 15:32:00
  2. Religion og udvikling
    by Christian Bjørnskov in Punditokraterne on 2013-11-08 09:47:08
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Cited by:
  1. Niclas Berggren & Christian Bjørnskov, 2012. "Does Religiosity Promote Property Rights and the Rule of Law?," Economics Working Papers 2012-08, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  2. James Fenske & Achyuta Adhvaryu, 2013. "War, Resilience and Political Engagement in Africa," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2013-08, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Rasmus Thönnessen & Erich Gundlach, 2013. "The size of human capital externalities: cross-country evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 671-689, December.
  4. Ljunge, Martin, 2012. "Trust Issues: Evidence from Second Generation Immigrants," Working Paper Series 946, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  5. Niklas Potrafke, 2010. "Islam and Democracy," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2010-10, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  6. Bjornskov, Christian & Bogetic, Zeljko & Hillman, Arye & Popovic, Milenko, 2014. "Trust and Identity in a Small, Post-Socialist, Post-Crisis Society," EconStor Preprints 95968, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
  7. Achyuta Adhvaryu & James Fenske, 2014. "Conflict and the Formation of Political Beliefs in Africa," HiCN Working Papers 164, Households in Conflict Network.
  8. Bergh, Andreas & Bjørnskov, Christian, 2013. "Trust, Welfare States and Income Equality: What Causes What?," Working Paper Series 994, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  9. Arusha Cooray & Niklas Potrafke, 2010. "Gender inequality in education: Political institutions or culture and religion?," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2010-01, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  10. Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "Policies against Human Trafficking: The Role of Religion and Political Institutions," CESifo Working Paper Series 4278, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Eric Uslaner, 2013. "Trust as an alternative to risk," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 629-639, December.

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