Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2013 Volume 9 :: Article 13
2013 Volume 9, Article 13
Deregulation and Demographic Change: A Key to Understanding Whether Religious Plurality Leads to Strife

Author: Brian J. Grim (Pew Research Center), Vegard Skirbekk (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis), and Jesus Crespo Cuaresma (Vienna University of Economics and Business)

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Using a new cross-country dataset, we test and extend the religious economies perspective on religious conflict in two ways. First, we expand earlier analyses of whether religious pluralities lead to more or less conflict. Second, we assess the apparent demographic anomaly that high population growth is often found not to contribute to higher levels of violent religious persecution and conflict. We introduce a new demographic measure that captures the net effect of the demographic transition rather than just recent population growth dynamics, thus concentrating on differences in long-term population growth patterns. In particular, we use the demographic transition multiplier, which is the ratio of the population size at the end of the demographic transition to the population size at the beginning of the demographic transition. We find that after controlling for multiple factors affecting religious hostilities, countries with larger demographic transition multipliers tend to have a higher level of religious conflict. Our results provide new insights into the interaction between demographic developments and religious freedom and suggest potentially fruitful paths of further research on this topic.

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