Research ArticleSOCIAL SCIENCES

Religious change preceded economic change in the 20th century

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Science Advances  18 Jul 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 7, eaar8680
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar8680
  • Fig. 1 Temporal trends in secularization versus economic development over the 20th century, for four illustrative countries.

    Each panel represents a country’s secularization score S derived from the WEVS on the y axis, for birth cohorts by decade t on the x axis. The trends are independently determined from each of five different survey periods, p, corresponding to five waves of the WEVS: p1, 1990–1994; p2, 1995–1999; p3, 2000–2004; p4, 2005–2009; p5, 2010–2014.

  • Fig. 2 Time series of secularization versus GDP per capita, from four illustrative countries, over the 20th century.

    Each red line represents the mean secularization score, St, of the birth cohort in decade, t, for that country. Each blue line represents the mean GDP per capita (normalized to 1990 US$) during decade t in that country.

  • Fig. 3 Emergence of the correlation between secularization and development during the 20th century.

    The top left panel shows scatter plots for secularization, St, against log GDPt per capita (normalized to 1990 US$), for people born in 1910 and 1990, where each point is a country. The top right panel shows R2 values for GDPt versus St, for the decades of the 20th century, t. The bottom left panel shows the same scatter-country plot for St against Vt for people born in the 1910s and the 1990s. The bottom left panel shows the progression of this correlation through the decades of the 20th century.

  • Table 1 Selected time-lagged linear regressions (labeled models M2, M5, etc.) between secularization (S), development (GDP), tolerance (V), and education (E).

    The time lag is y = 2 decades in all cases (results for y = 1, 2, and 3 decades in table S14). SEs, in parentheses, were determined from the inverse of the negative Hessian matrix (44). N is the number of data points for each autoregression, n is the number of countries included in the data set, i is the percentage of residual variance explained by the random effect (country), and h is the percentage explained by cultural heritage. R2 is the total variance explained. Bonferroni-corrected significance: *P < 0.1, **P < 0.05, ****P < 0.01.

    ModelM2M5M8M11M14M17
    VariableSGDPSGDPSGDP
    Fixed effect
      GDPt−2−0.02 (0.03)0.87 (0.04)***−0.01 (0.03)0.78 (0.04)***−0.04 (0.05)0.83 (0.05)***
      St−20.97 (0.02)***0.28 (0.03)****0.99 (0.04)***0.01 (0.04)0.97 (0.02)***0.22 (0.02)***
      Vt−2−0.02 (0.03)0.32 (0.04)***
      Et−20.14 (0.2)0.97 (0.19)***
    Random effect
      i0.14***0.21***0.14***0.19***0.15***0.16***
      h0.14***0.12*0.14***0.10.12*0.09
    Summary
      R20.990.890.990.90.990.91
      N324469324469274382
      n95101951016970

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/4/7/eaar8680/DC1

    Section S1. WVS and EVS

    Section S2. Exploratory factor analysis

    Section S3. Cultural factor loadings

    Table S1. Participation in the different waves of the WVS and EVS.

    Table S2. Participating countries in the WEVS.

    Table S3. Questions common to all eight waves of the WVS and EVS.

    Table S4. Secularization.

    Table S5. Institutional confidence.

    Table S6. Openness to intrinsic differences.

    Table S7. Prosociality.

    Table S8. Interest of politics.

    Table S9. Wellbeing.

    Table S10. Political engagement.

    Table S11. Tolerance of prohibited behaviors.

    Table S12. Openness to extrinsic differences.

    Table S13. Independence of birth decade, t, versus WEVS phase, p, for secularization, St,p, and tolerance, Vt,p.

    Table S14. Multilevel time-lagged linear models (see Materials and Methods) demonstrating that secularization predicts GDP and not vice versa (models 1 to 6); tolerance predicts GDP better than secularization (models 7 to 12) and education predicts future GDP, but not secularization (models 13 to 18).

    Table S15. Time-lagged models, models 1 to 6 (see Materials and Methods), of S versus GDP for cohorts in their first decade or childhood (y = 0 decades, top row), teenage years (y = 1 decade, middle row), and twenties (y = 2 decades, bottom row).

    Table S16. Multilevel time-lagged models, but with secularization (Salt) measured using the average of six indicators, which are subjectively associated with religiosity.

    Table S17. Language categories assigned to WEVS countries, using Ethnologue data.

    Fig. S1. The ordered factor loadings on WEVS survey questions, following EFA analysis with oblique rotation.

  • Supplementary Materials

    This PDF file includes:

    • Section S1. WVS and EVS
    • Section S2. Exploratory factor analysis
    • Section S3. Cultural factor loadings
    • Table S1. Participation in the different waves of the WVS and EVS.
    • Table S2. Participating countries in the WEVS.
    • Table S3. Questions common to all eight waves of the WVS and EVS.
    • Table S4. Secularization.
    • Table S5. Institutional confidence.
    • Table S6. Openness to intrinsic differences.
    • Table S7. Prosociality.
    • Table S8. Interest of politics.
    • Table S9. Wellbeing.
    • Table S10. Political engagement.
    • Table S11. Tolerance of prohibited behaviors.
    • Table S12. Openness to extrinsic differences.
    • Table S13. Independence of birth decade, t, versus WEVS phase, p, for secularization, St,p, and tolerance, Vt,p.
    • Table S14. Multilevel time-lagged linear models (see Materials and Methods) demonstrating that secularization predicts GDP and not vice versa (models 1 to 6); tolerance predicts GDP better than secularization (models 7 to 12) and education predicts future GDP, but not secularization (models 13 to 18).
    • Table S15. Time-lagged models, models 1 to 6 (see Materials and Methods), of S versus GDP for cohorts in their first decade or childhood (y = 0 decades, top row), teenage years (y = 1 decade, middle row), and twenties (y = 2 decades, bottom row).
    • Table S16. Multilevel time-lagged models, but with secularization (Salt) measured using the average of six indicators, which are subjectively associated with religiosity.
    • Table S17. Language categories assigned to WEVS countries, using Ethnologue data.
    • Fig. S1. The ordered factor loadings on WEVS survey questions, following EFA analysis with oblique rotation.

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