Organized Religion and Origins of Norms: Evidence from Africa

43 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2020

See all articles by Maxim Ananyev

Maxim Ananyev

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Michael Poyker

Columbia University - Columbia Business School

Date Written: June 3, 2020

Abstract

We argue that organized religion serves as a powerful mechanism of change and subsequent persistence of cultural norms. We use a geo-coded representative survey of African countries and the location of historical Christian missions to estimate a significant and economically meaningful association between proximity to historical missions and anti-gay sentiments today. Using anthropological data on pre-colonial acceptance of homosexual practices among indigenous groups, we show that the establishment of missions, while nonrandom, was exogenous to pre-existing levels of intolerance among local populations. Thus, we argue that our results
are indicative of a causal effect of missionary religious conversion. Our study demonstrates that organized religion can facilitate change in norms and values.

Keywords: Missions, Africa, Tolerance, Homosexuals, Religion

JEL Classification: J15, N37, Z1

Suggested Citation

Ananyev, Maxim and Poyker, Mikhail, Organized Religion and Origins of Norms: Evidence from Africa (June 3, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3617374 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3617374

Maxim Ananyev

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Mikhail Poyker (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Columbia Business School ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.poykerm.com

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
7
Abstract Views
71
PlumX Metrics