Working Paper No. 905

Does Religiosity Promote Property Rights and the Rule of Law?

Published: March 6, 2012Pages: 27Keywords: Religion; Religiosity; Rule of law; Property rights; InstitutionsJEL-codes: K11; K42; Z12
Published version

Does Religiosity Promote Property Rights and the Rule of Law? Niclas Berggren and Christian Bjørnskov

Social and cultural determinants of economic institutions and outcomes have come to the forefront of economic research. We introduce religiosity, measured as the share for which religion is important in daily life, to explain institutional quality in the form of property rights and the rule of law. Previous studies have only measured the impact of membership shares of different religions, with mixed results. We find, in a cross-country regression analysis comprising up to 112 countries, that religiosity is negatively related to our institutional outcome variables. This only holds in democracies (not autocracies), which suggests that religiosity affects the way institutions work through the political process. Individual religions are not related to our measure of institutional quality.

Niclas Berggren


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Christian Bjørnskov


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In this book Andreas Bergh, Therese Nilsson, IFN and Lund University, and Daniel Waldenström, IFN and Paris School of Economics, France, review the latest research on the relationship between inequality and health. What does inequality mean for our health? Does increasing income inequality affect outcomes such as obesity, life expectancy and subjective well-being?


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