IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Public Presence of Religion in Western Europe: its social significance among religious constituencies lying between the secular and churchgoing Christians?


  • Tony Glendinning


The study examines attitudes about public religion in the Netherlands, Britain, France and Denmark using ISSP survey data for 1998 and 2008. The context is de-privatization of religion in secular Western Europe due to Christian cultural defence. The majority of Dutch and British participants hold moderate opinions about mixing religion and politics. The majority of French and Danish participants are against public religion. Comparing 2008 to 1998, anti-public-religion attitudes are more evident in the Netherlands in 2008. It is moderate attitudes that are less likely in Britain and approval is even less likely in France and Denmark in 2008 compared to 1998. Overall, public religion has become more unpopular in all four countries. In terms of differences between religious constituencies within countries, attitudes about public religion have de-coupled from churchgoing in Britain unlike continuing relative approval of churchgoers elsewhere. Non-attendance of services is associated with disapproval in France only. In the Danish case, majorities express anti-public-religion attitudes across all religious constituencies in 2008, including Danish churchgoers. National differences emphasize differing traditions, church-state relations and current conditions. There are two instances of cultural defence in our analysis. The Dutch case represents growth in religious-Christian numbers outside of the churches who are not against public religion. The other instance of religio-ethnic cultural defence is among a growing minority of nominal Christians in Britain, who are neither religious nor churchgoers, but express approval of mixing religion and politics as part of an imagined national identity rather than any basis in Christian faith.

Suggested Citation

  • Tony Glendinning, 2014. "The Public Presence of Religion in Western Europe: its social significance among religious constituencies lying between the secular and churchgoing Christians?," International Journal of Social Science Studies, Redfame publishing, vol. 2(1), pages 51-64, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:rfa:journl:v:2:y:2014:i:1:p:51-64

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pierre Perron & Serena Ng, 1996. "Useful Modifications to some Unit Root Tests with Dependent Errors and their Local Asymptotic Properties," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 435-463.
    2. Camarero, Mariam & Carrion-i-Silvestre, Josep Lluis & Tamarit, Cecilio, 2005. "Unemployment dynamics and NAIRU estimates for accession countries: A univariate approach," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 584-603, September.
    3. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
    4. Zivot, Eric & Andrews, Donald W K, 2002. "Further Evidence on the Great Crash, the Oil-Price Shock, and the Unit-Root Hypothesis," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-44, January.
    5. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 2002. "The NAIRU in Theory and Practice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 115-136, Fall.
    6. Samuel Bentolila & Giuseppe Bertola, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402.
    7. Ana R. de Lamo & Juan J. Dolado, 1993. "Un modelo del mercado de trabajo y la restricción de oferta en la economía española," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 17(1), pages 87-118, January.
    8. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 1998. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 47-78, January.
    9. Bellod Redondo, José Francisco, 1999. "Prueba de causalidad y determinación de la NAIRU," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(264), pages 663-692, octubre-d.
    10. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 15-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Perron, Pierre, 1989. "The Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1361-1401, November.
    12. Perron, Pierre & Rodriguez, Gabriel, 2003. "GLS detrending, efficient unit root tests and structural change," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 1-27, July.
    13. Clemente, Jesus & Lanaspa, Luis & Montanes, Antonio, 2005. "The unemployment structure of the US states," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-5), pages 848-868, September.
    14. Marco A. Espinosa-Vega & Steven Russell, 1997. "History and theory of the NAIRU: a critical review," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 2, pages 4-25.
    15. Alok Bhargava, 1986. "On the Theory of Testing for Unit Roots in Observed Time Series," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 369-384.
    16. Servaas Storm & C. Naastepad, 2007. "It is high time to ditch the NAIRU," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(4), pages 531-554.
    17. Siebert, Horst, 1997. "Labor market rigidities and unemployment in Europe," Kiel Working Papers 787, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    18. Philip Arestis & Iris Biefang-Frisancho Mariscal, 2000. "OECD unemployment: structural breaks and stationarity," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(4), pages 399-403.
    19. Serena Ng & Pierre Perron, 2001. "LAG Length Selection and the Construction of Unit Root Tests with Good Size and Power," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1519-1554, November.
    20. Olivier Blanchard, 2006. "European unemployment: the evolution of facts and ideas," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 21(45), pages 5-59, January.
    21. Laurence M. Ball, 1997. "Disinflation and the NAIRU," NBER Chapters,in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 167-194 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. David H. Papell & Christian J. Murray & Hala Ghiblawi, 2000. "The Structure of Unemployment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 309-315, May.
    23. Perron, Pierre & Rodriguez, Gabriel, 2003. "GLS detrending, efficient unit root tests and structural change," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 1-27, July.
    24. Gómez García, F. & Rebollo Sanz, Y. & Usabiaga Ibáñez, C., 2002. "Nuevas estimaciones de la NAIRU de la economía española: métodos directos," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 20, pages 509-530, Diciembre.
    25. Horst Siebert, 1997. "Labor Market Rigidities: At the Root of Unemployment in Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 37-54, Summer.
    26. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 2003. "Computation and analysis of multiple structural change models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 1-22.
    27. Ewing, Bradley T. & Wunnava, Phanindra V., 2001. "Unit roots and structural breaks in North American unemployment rates," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 273-282, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    public religion; politics; Western Europe; cultural defence; Christian identity;

    JEL classification:

    • R00 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General - - - General
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rfa:journl:v:2:y:2014:i:1:p:51-64. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Redfame publishing). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.