Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2013 Volume 9 :: Article 4
2013 Volume 9, Article 4
The Collapse of Secular Social Capital and Religious Revival in Rural China: An Empirical Study

Author: Xiuhua Wang (Renmin University of China)

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ABSTRACT

In this article, we investigate the impact of social capital on religious preference in rural China using a dataset from Henan Province. Using family emigration rate and average rate of participation in public activities in the village as instrumental variables of social capital to avoid the problem of endogenous models, we find a causal relationship between social capital and religious preference based on a two-stage least squares estimation. Regression results show a significant negative correlation between social capital and religious affiliation when daily network size, Chinese New Year Greeting network size, attendance at public activities, social indifference, and social conflicts are used as the indicators of social capital. Therefore we infer that the collapse of traditional secular social capital and the fragmentation of farming communities have boosted the religious revival in rural China.

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