23.1.Project on Religion and Economic Change 1_10

23.1.Project on Religion and Economic Change 1_10 - Project...

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Project on Religion and Economic Change Robert D. Woodberry, P.I. Center for the Scientific Study of Religion, Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin. The primary goal of this project is to evaluate religions influence on the economy. We will pay particular attention to carefully measuring different types of religious groups, institutions, beliefs, and behaviors; to connecting our work to historical and qualitative research; and to differentiating between possible causal mechanisms. However, religious behavior may have a different economic effect for individuals than it has for groups. For example, avoiding corruption may hurt an individual’s economic prospects but help a society’s economic prospects. Thus, we propose studying the impact of religion on the economy at three levels: the national, the communal, and the individual. At the national level, we will analyze the impact of 150 years of Protestant and Catholic missionary activity, education, and medical work on current economic outcomes of nonwestern countries. At the community-level, we will analyze religious and economic change in linked micro-regions on five waves of the Brazilian census. Finally, at the individual-level and village-level, we will analyze four waves of a longitudinal survey in Malawi (Sub-Saharan Africa). Our project will be affiliated with the Center for the Scientific Study of Religion at the Population Research Center (PRC) at U.T.-Austin. The PRC has pledged office space, computer resources, and support staff to facilitate the project. National Impact of Religion on the Economy : We have discovered and compiled an extraordinary series of data that allow us to test the national-level impact of religion on all nonwestern societies between 1813 and the present. These data plot the locations of virtually all missionary activity, education, and medical work in a series of maps and statistical tables about every ten years from 1813 through 1968. Missionary strategists collected these to plan future activity. Because our sources plot the locations of missionary institutions, we can regroup the data to match any modern national or provincial borders and thus link them to modern data on religion and economic outcomes from the 1950s through the present. This gives an unprecedented 190 years of data in which to analyze the consequences of religion, education, and medical work on the economy, and a time series with which we can test both diffusion patterns between religious traditions and the impact of religious competition on the services religions provide. These data will allow us to analyze education, medical work, and religious adherence over a hundred years earlier than other sources and to disentangle the impacts of a number of related “institutions” – a problem that has stymied previous research on long-term economic growth rates. We have also developed multiple ways we can deal with the endogeneity of our missions, education, and medical variables – one of which
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2011 for the course UGS 302 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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23.1.Project on Religion and Economic Change 1_10 - Project...

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