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Religion, Corruption, and the Rule of Law

Authors

  • CHARLES M. NORTH,

  • WAFA HAKIM ORMAN,

  • CARL R. GWIN


  • This research is funded in part by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. For helpful comments, we thank an anonymous referee, the editor, Steve Green, Melissa Wilde, and participants at the 2004 and 2009 annual meetings of the Association for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Culture, and the 2006 annual meeting of the Western Economic Association International. We thank Akinjide Falaki for research assistance.

Abstract

In a 207-country sample, we find that rule of law and corruption are both associated with a country's religious heritage, thereby partially explaining the correlation between religion and economic growth found in previous research. We also show that our results change when we control for some variables lacking data for all countries in the sample but that these differences are attributable to changes in sample composition rather than the effects of the control variables. Our research suggests that researchers doing cross-country analysis should distinguish between the effects of adding a control variable and the resulting sample composition effects.

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