A Changing Religious Landscape and Community Social Bonds

63 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2020 Last revised: 6 Feb 2022

See all articles by David M. A. Murphy

David M. A. Murphy

Colgate University

Vesall Nourani

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Andrew Simons

Fordham University - Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Date Written: September 28, 2020

Abstract

Throughout the world, common social spaces are changing due to shifts in religious associations. We analyze this process and its effect on community social bonds by collecting a novel panel dataset reflecting changes in social relationships and religious institutions in a sub-region of western Kenya undergoing rapid growth in religious institutions. We find that a one standard deviation increase in the density of religious institutions in the vicinity of two peers increases the likelihood that they cut information ties by 8.2 percentage points. The mechanism for this effect lies in the increased likelihood of an individual switching to a new religious institution, which severs their religious connection with their previous acquaintances. The results suggest that policies that rely on social connections (e.g., information diffusion) may not be as effective as religious fragmentation increases and average religious institution size falls.

Keywords: Religion, religious institutions, social spaces, social capital, network linkages, Kenya, Africa

JEL Classification: Z12, O12, D83

Suggested Citation

Murphy, David M. A. and Nourani, Vesall and Simons, Andrew, A Changing Religious Landscape and Community Social Bonds (September 28, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3701207 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3701207

David M. A. Murphy (Contact Author)

Colgate University ( email )

13 Oak Drive
Hamilton, NY 13346
United States

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

Vesall Nourani

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Andrew Simons

Fordham University - Graduate School of Arts & Sciences ( email )

441 E. Fordham Rd.
Bronx, NY 10458
United States

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