Does a Nation's Religious Composition Affect Generalized Trust? The Role of Religious Heterogeneity and the Percent Religious

Is religion more of an integrative or a divisive force in contemporary societies? We use multilevel analyses of World Values Survey data from 77,409 individuals in 69 countries to examine how both the percent of the population that is religious and the religious heterogeneity of a country are relate...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Journal for the scientific study of religion
Authors: Olson, Daniel V. 1953- ; Miao, Li
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Wiley-Blackwell [2015]
[publisher not identified]
In: Journal for the scientific study of religion
Year: 2015, Volume: 54, Issue: 4, Pages: 756-773
Further subjects:B moral community
B religious heterogeneity
B generalized social trust
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
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Description
Summary:Is religion more of an integrative or a divisive force in contemporary societies? We use multilevel analyses of World Values Survey data from 77,409 individuals in 69 countries to examine how both the percent of the population that is religious and the religious heterogeneity of a country are related to generalized social trust, the willingness of individuals to trust “most people.” When we first examine the main effects of the percent religious and religious heterogeneity we find no evidence that either variable is related to trust in the ways predicted by major theories. However, the combination of these two variables has a huge negative relationship with trust. Countries that are both highly religious and religiously heterogeneous (diverse) have, on average, levels of trust that are only half the average levels of countries with other combinations of these two variables. The results have important implications for understanding the role of religion in modern societies.
ISSN:1468-5906
Contains:Enthalten in: Journal for the scientific study of religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1111/jssr.12231