Government involvement in religion: causes and effects of open religious markets Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Cupery, Tim
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • This dissertation examines measurement of government policies toward religion, country-level predictors of those policies, and the impact of policies on religiosity. I use the term Government Involvement in Religion (abbreviated GIR) to denote multiple dimensions by which government policies may impact the religious market. The first chapter builds measures for multiple dimensions of GIR. I improve on prior measurement strategies by combining the best available data with theoretical definitions distinguishing between dimensions, and testing multi-dimensional measurement models. I test confirmatory factor analysis models and present difference tests showing that dimensions are empirically distinct. The second chapter analyzes which sorts of countries are most likely to be involved in the religious market, and in what ways. The data show an unsurprising strong inverse relationship between Liberal Democracy and GIR, vetted against concerns of endogeneity. However, over-time changes in democracy do not predict over-time changes in GIR. Financial Favoritism appears to be empirically compatible with Democracy, but Legislative Favoritism does not. Most interestingly, multivariate analyses show a significant positive relationship between GDP and GIR, in both between-country differences and over-time changes. While simple correlations show that more-developed countries tend to have less GIR, when controlling for other factors - particularly Liberal Democracy - GDP tends to predict more government involvement in the religious market. The third chapter addresses Religious Economies theory by examining the relationship between GIR and institutional religiosity. I use multiple dimensions of GIR to better address the question of which dimension(s) drive the oft-observed negative relationship with religiosity. The analyses find no significant predictors of over-time change in religiosity, partly because of a limited sample of countries and time. However, countries with more religious restrictions tend to have significantly lower rates of religious service attendance. These analyses give no evidence that government favoritism (toward a particular religion) has any detrimental impact on religiosity, undercutting the lazy monopoly hypothesis that drove much of the early Religious Economies research.
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  • In Copyright
  • Bollen, Kenneth
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2013

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