Religious participation, social conservatism, and human development

Journal Article (Journal Article)

What is the relationship between human development, religion, and social conservatism? We present a model in which individuals derive utility from both the secular and religious worlds. Our model is unusual in that it explains both an individual's religious participation and her preferences over social policy at different levels of development. Using data from the pooled World Values Survey, we find that religious participation declines with human development and an individual's ability to earn secular income. We also find that although social conservatism declines with development in absolute terms, religious individuals become more socially conservative relative to the population average. Paradoxically, our results suggest that human development may make it easier for religious individuals to overcome collective action problems and obtain disproportionate political influence, even as their numbers dwindle and society as a whole becomes less socially conservative. Our analysis has important implications for the debate about secularization theory. © Southern Political Science Association 2013.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gaskins, B; Golder, M; Siegel, DA

Published Date

  • October 1, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 75 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 1125 - 1141

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1468-2508

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3816

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/S0022381613000765

Citation Source

  • Scopus