72 research outputs found

    Religion and Economic Growth

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    Empirical research on the determinants of economic growth has typically neglected the influence of religion. To fill this gap, we use international survey data on religiosity for a broad panel of countries to investigate the effects of church attendance and religious beliefs on economic growth. To isolate the direction of causation from religiosity to economic performance, we use instrumental variables suggested by our analysis of systems in which church attendance and beliefs are the dependent variables. The instruments are dummy variables for the presence of state religion and for regulation of the religion market, an indicator of religious pluralism, and the composition of religions. We find that economic growth responds positively to the extent of religious beliefs, notably those in hell and heaven, but negatively to church attendance. That is, growth depends on the extent of believing relative to belonging. These results accord with a perspective in which religious beliefs influence individual traits that enhance economic performance. The beliefs are, in turn, the principal output of the religion sector, and church attendance measures the inputs to this sector. Hence, for given beliefs, more church attendance signifies more resources used up by the religion sector.

    U.S.-Based Private Voluntary Organizations: Religious and Secular PVOs Engaged in International Relief & Development

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    We have constructed a new and substantial data set from 1939 to 2004 on U.S.-based private voluntary organizations (PVOs) engaged in international relief and development. The universe comprises PVOs registered with the federal government (U.S. Agency for International Development since the early 1960s). PVOs are classified by type among secular and 14 types of religious categories. Classifications were made for the date of founding and in 2004 (or last date of existence). We can therefore examine shifts in classification over time%u2014among religion types and between religious and secular. The data set has information on revenue and expenditure for each year. We distinguish revenue by source: federal, international organization, and private. We distinguish within these sources by grants, contracts, in-kind and cash donations, and so on. We break down expenditure into categories, including a division between international and domestic programs. This data set allows us to track trends in the overall universe of PVOs and by type of PVO in terms of numbers registered, income, expenditure, and sub-categories of income and expenditure. Analysis can now be conducted at the individual agency and aggregate levels for PVOs engaged in international relief and development and registered with the U.S. federal government from 1939 to 2004.

    Religion and Political Economy in an International Panel

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    Economic and political developments affect religiosity, and the extent of religious participation and beliefs influence economic performance and political institutions. We study these two directions of causation in a broad cross-country panel that includes survey information over the last 20 years on church attendance and an array of religious beliefs. Although religiosity declines overall with economic development, the nature of the response varies with the dimension of development. Church attendance and religious beliefs are positively related to education (thereby conflicting with theories in which religion reflects non-scientific thinking) and negatively related to urbanization. Attendance also declines with higher life expectancy and lower fertility. We investigate the effects of official state religions, government regulation of the religion market, Communism, religious pluralism, and the denominational composition of religious adherence. On the other side, we find that economic growth responds positively to the extent of some religious beliefs but negatively to church attendance. That is, growth depends on the extent of believing relative to belonging. These results hold up when we use as instrumental variables the measures of official state religion, government regulation, and religious pluralism.

    Which Countries Have State Religions?

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    For 188 independent countries in 2000, 72 had no state religion in the years 2000, 1970, and 1900; 58 had a state religion at all three dates; and 58 had some kind of transition. Among the 58 transitional countries, 12 had two transitions, 4 of which (former Soviet Republics in Asia) involved two forms of state religion. The probability of having a state religion in 2000 or 1970 depends strongly on the status of state religion in 1900 but much more so for countries that experienced no major change in political regime during the 20th century. Communist governments tend not to have state religion - only one Communist country (Somalia in 1970) had a state religion in the usual sense. However, a past history of Communism does not have much influence on the probability of state religion. Greater concentration of religious adherence is positively related to state religion, and most of this relation seems to reflect causation from religious concentration to state religion, rather than the reverse. Theoretically, state religion is more probable when the population adheres to a monotheistic religion. We find this effect for Muslim adherence, but the relationship is not robust. State religion is less likely in sub-Saharan Africa, possibly because of the intense competition for converts in this region among the major world religions. The probability of state religion does not differ significantly between former colonies and non-colonies but is higher for British colonies than for Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Variables that have little effect on the probability of state religion include per capita GDP, country size, and the extent of democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law.

    Protestantism and Human Capital in Guatemala and the Republic of Korea

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    Protestant missions from the United States entered the Republic of Korea and Guatemala at the same time (1884 and 1882, respectively). Yet, their impact on human capital has been divergent. The analysis presented in this paper supports the findings of Woodberry (2004, 2009, 2011) and Nunn (2009) in the case of the Republic of Korea. Mainline Protestant missions — Presbyterian and Methodist — promoted the Social Gospel and were the largest in the Republic of Korea implementing successful strategies such as using Korean (Hangul) as the lingua franca in their schools, churches, and medical facilities. Whereas the mainline Protestant denominations in the Republic of Korea successfully promoted investment in human capital, the case of Guatemala does not follow this pattern. Evangelical, Pentecostal, and neo-Pentecostal denominations and churches focused their efforts on evangelizing. Their premilliennialist beliefs translated into an eschatological urgency of conversion with little investment in human capital. As a result, institution-building requisite for investment in human capital (establishing educational institutions and medical facilities) characterized Protestant missions in the Republic of Korea, but not Guatemala. These diverging approaches to exporting Christianity have had differing longterm effects on the two societies

    Saints Marching In, 1590-2009

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    The Catholic Church has been making saints for centuries, typically in a two-stage process featuring beatification and canonization. We analyze determinants of rates of beatification and canonization (for non-martyrs) over time and across six world regions. The research uses a recently assembled data set on numbers and characteristics of beatifieds and saints chosen since 1590. We classify these blessed persons regionally in accordance with residence at death. These data are combined with time-series estimates of regional populations of Catholics, broadly-defined Protestants, Orthodox, and Evangelicals (mostly a sub-set of Protestants). Regression estimates indicate that the canonization rate depends strongly on the number of candidates, gauged by a region’s stock of beatifieds who have not yet been canonized. The beatification rate depends positively on the region’s stock of persons previously canonized. The last two popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI (the only non-Italians in our sample), are outliers, choosing blessed persons at a much higher rate than that of their predecessors. Since around 1900, the naming of blessed persons seems to reflect a response by the Catholic Church to competition from Protestantism or Evangelicalism. We find no evidence, at least since 1590, of competition between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

    The Barley Genome Sequence Assembly Reveals Three Additional Members of the <i>CslF </i>(1,3;1,4)-b-Glucan Synthase Gene Family

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    An important component of barley cell walls, particularly in the endosperm, is (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan, a polymer that has proven health benefits in humans and that influences processability in the brewing industry. Genes of the cellulose synthase-like (Csl) F gene family have been shown to be involved in (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan synthesis but many aspects of the biosynthesis are still unclear. Examination of the sequence assembly of the barley genome has revealed the presence of an additional three HvCslF genes (HvCslF11, HvCslF12 and HvCslF13) which may be involved in (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan synthesis. Transcripts of HvCslF11 and HvCslF12 mRNA were found in roots and young leaves, respectively. Transient expression of these genes in Nicotiana benthamiana resulted in phenotypic changes in the infiltrated leaves, although no authentic (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan was detected. Comparisons of the CslF gene families in cereals revealed evidence of intergenic recombination, gene duplications and translocation events. This significant divergence within the gene family might be related to multiple functions of (1,3;1,4)-β-glucans in the Poaceae. Emerging genomic and global expression data for barley and other cereals is a powerful resource for characterising the evolution and dynamics of complete gene families. In the case of the CslF gene family, the results will contribute to a more thorough understanding of carbohydrate metabolism in grass cell walls
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