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Religion and Comparative Development

The Genesis of Democracy and Dictatorship

Theocharis Grigoriadis

Religion and Comparative Development is the first analytical endeavor on religion and government that incorporates microeconomic modeling of democracy and dictatorship as well as empirical linkages between religious norms and the bureaucratic provision of public goods within the framework of survey data analysis and public goods experiments. Moreover, it explores the rising significance of religion in Middle East and post-Soviet politics, as well as in current migration, security and party developments in the United States and Europe alike through these lenses.
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Chapter 3: Religious identity, local governance, and public goods

Theocharis Grigoriadis


The chapter analyses the effects of religious identity – defined both as personal identification with a religious tradition and evaluation of a central religious institution – on attitudes toward centralization. It explores whether religious citizens are more likely to evaluate their government positively than atheists. It also tests whether adherence to conservative norms of governance lead to a positive evaluation of government. Surveys conducted in Russia and Israel provide a mosaic of three major world religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The information gathered provides a study of the role of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, and the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem toward the centralized provision of public goods. The study finds strong support for the proposition that religious identity and conservative norms of governance reinforce positive evaluations of government. It also reveals that personal religious identity increases positive attitudes toward local government, while institutional religious identity consolidates positive perceptions of government at both central and local levels.

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