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Trust in Others: Does Religion Matter?


  • Joseph Daniels

    (Center for Global and Economic Studies, Marquette University)

  • Marc von der Ruhr

    (Department of Economics, Saint Norbert College)


Though the recent literature offers intuitively appealing bases for, and evidence of a linkage between religious beliefs, religious participation and economic outcomes, evidence on a relationship between religion and trust is mixed. By allowing for an attendance effect, disaggregating Protestant denominations, and using a more extensive data set, probit models of the General Social Survey (GSS), 1975 through 2000, show that Black Protestants, Pentecostals, fundamentalist Protestants, and Catholics, trust others less than individuals who do not claim a preference for a particular denomination. For conservation denominations the effect of religion is though affiliation not attendance. In contrast, liberal Protestants trust others more and this effect is reinforced by attendance. The impact of religion on moderate Protestants is only through attendance, as frequency of attendance increases trust of others while the denomination effect is insignificant.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph Daniels & Marc von der Ruhr, 2009. "Trust in Others: Does Religion Matter?," Working Papers and Research 0902, Marquette University, Center for Global and Economic Studies and Department of Economics, revised Sep 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrq:wpaper:0902

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. What does religion do?
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-12-18 17:25:56


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    Cited by:

    1. Maryam Dilmaghani, 2018. "Which is greener: secularity or religiosity? Environmental philanthropy along religiosity spectrum," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 20(2), pages 477-502, April.
    2. Mai Chi Vu & Trang Tran, 2021. "Trust Issues and Engaged Buddhism: The Triggers for Skillful Managerial Approaches," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 169(1), pages 77-102, February.
    3. Zamani-Farahani, Hamira & Musa, Ghazali, 2012. "The relationship between Islamic religiosity and residents’ perceptions of socio-cultural impacts of tourism in Iran: Case studies of Sare’in and Masooleh," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 802-814.
    4. Berggren, Niclas & Bjørnskov, Christian, 2011. "Is the importance of religion in daily life related to social trust? Cross-country and cross-state comparisons," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 459-480.
    5. Cesur, Resul & Freidman, Travis & Sabia, Joseph J., 2020. "War, traumatic health shocks, and religiosity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 475-502.
    6. M. Niaz Asadullah, 2017. "Who Trusts Others? Community and Individual Determinants of Social Capital in a Low-Income Country," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(2), pages 515-544.
    7. Niu, Geng & Zhao, Guochang, 2018. "Religion and trust in strangers among China's rural-urban migrants," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 265-272.
    8. Pablo Neudörfer & Jorge Dresdner, 2014. "Does religious affiliation affect migration?," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(3), pages 577-594, August.
    9. Delavande, Adeline & Zafar, Basit, 2015. "Stereotypes and Madrassas: Experimental evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 247-267.
    10. Juan Barrios, 2015. "“I Think Competition is Better Than You Do: Does It Make Me Happier?” Evidence from the World Value Surveys," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 599-618, June.
    11. Gerald E. Ezirim & Peter O. Mbah & Ejikeme J. Nwagwu & Ikechukwu Charles Eze & George C. Nche & JohnBosco C. Chukwuorji, 2021. "Trust and Trustworthiness in a Sub-Saharan African Sample: Contributions of Personality and Religiosity," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 153(3), pages 1087-1107, February.
    12. Syed Sibghatullah Shah & Abdul Jalil & Syed Akhter Hussain Shah, 2020. "Growth Effects of Religion Dependent Social Capital: An Empirical Evidence," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 149(2), pages 423-443, June.
    13. Barrios Juan José & Gandelman Nestor, 2015. "Religious Participation, Trust and Reciprocity: Evidence from Six Latin American Cities," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(1), pages 1-24, January.

    More about this item


    religion; social trust;

    JEL classification:

    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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