Ratio Working Papers
Is the Importance of Religion in Daily Life Related to Social Trust? Cross-Country and Cross-State Comparisons
() and Christian Bjørnskov
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.
Keywords: Trust; Religiosity; Religion; Social Capital; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: O57; Z12; Z13; (follow links to similar papers)
38 pages, September 25, 2009
Before downloading any of the electronic versions below
you should read our statement on
for viewing Postscript files and the
Acrobat Reader for viewing and printing pdf files.
Full text versions of the paper:
- This paper is forthcoming as:
Berggren, Niclas and Christian Bjørnskov, 'Does Religiosity Promote or Discourage Social Trust? Evidence from Cross-Country and Cross-State Comparisons', Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.
Questions (including download problems) about the papers in this series should be directed to Martin Korpi ()
Report other problems with accessing this service to Sune Karlsson ()
or Helena Lundin ().
Design by Joachim Ekebom