Conversionary Protestants Do Not Cause Democracy

23 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2019 Last revised: 2 Mar 2020

See all articles by Elena Nikolova

Elena Nikolova

Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI); University College London - School of Slavonic and East European Studies; IOS Regensburg

Jakub Polansky

University of Sussex, School of Global Studies; University of Sussex - Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU)

Date Written: February 28, 2020

Abstract

In “The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy”, Robert D. Woodberry (2012) claims that the emergence of stable democracies around the world was influenced by conversionary Protestantism. While Woodberry’s historical analysis is exhaustive, the accompanying empirical evidence suffers from severe inconsistencies. We replicate Woodberry’s analysis using 26 alternative democracy measures and extend the time period over which the democracy measures are averaged. These two simple modifications lead to the breakdown of Woodberry’s results. We find no significant relationship between Protestant missions and the development of democracy, which raises concerns about the robustness and broader applicability of Woodberry’s findings. We discuss some alternative explanations for Woodberry’s results which we hope can inform future research on this topic.

Keywords: religion, democracy, economic history, political institutions

JEL Classification: H11, N40, Z12

Suggested Citation

Nikolova, Elena and Nikolova, Elena and Polansky, Jakub, Conversionary Protestants Do Not Cause Democracy (February 28, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3314001 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3314001

Elena Nikolova (Contact Author)

Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI) ( email )

Zvolenská 29
Bratislava, 82109
Slovakia

University College London - School of Slavonic and East European Studies ( email )

Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU
United Kingdom

IOS Regensburg ( email )

Landshuter Str. 4
Regensburg, 93047
Germany

Jakub Polansky

University of Sussex, School of Global Studies ( email )

Brighton
United Kingdom

University of Sussex - Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) ( email )

Brighton, BN1 9SL
United Kingdom

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
307
Abstract Views
1,569
rank
141,351
PlumX Metrics