Regulating Religion in the Public Arena: Lessons Learned from Global Data Collections

Roger Finke, Kerby Goff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter’s data analysis shows the negative effect of putatively neutral regulations on religious freedom worldwide. Examining the constitutions of countries around the world, the authors note that most countries enshrine a formal commitment to religious freedom. However, such constitutional provisions commonly coexist with regulatory restrictions on religious freedom, the authors warn. Furthermore, many otherwise mature liberal democracies have taken increasingly punitive stances towards disfavored religious groups, and many countries with strong nominal protections for religious freedom strictly regulate religious minorities in practice. The authors conclude there is a modest connection between religious freedom and economic development, and a strong correlation between religious freedom, open elections, independent courts, and respect for other kinds of civil rights.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDemocracy, Religion, and Commerce
Subtitle of host publicationPrivate Markets and the Public Regulation of Religion
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781000849592
ISBN (Print)9781032313436
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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