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Knill, Christoph; Budde, Emma Theresa; Heichel, Stephan and Preidel, Caroline (2016): Religious Tides. The Inverse U-shape of Religious Influence on Morality Policies. "Religious Actors and State- and Regime-Building Following Political Changes" Panel. ECPR General Conference, Prag, 7. - 10. September 2016.

Full text not available from 'Open Access LMU'.


Presented by Emma Theresa Budde.

Over the last 50 years Western societies underwent a strong change in the way in which they regulate moral issues. National policies on issues related to sexuality and death have become increasingly progressive, granting more freedom in moral matters to the individual. Despite the overall trend towards permissiveness, cross-national variance in speed and scope of reform are in need of explanation. The stance of a society’s dominant religion was often argued to account for differences between countries but at the same time strongly Catholic countries such as Spain and Portugal liberalizing their moral policies in recent years call the religious influence into question. Relying on a dataset that includes a fine-grained measure of the permissiveness of regulations regarding homosexuality, same-sex marriage, abortion, and euthanasia, we employ time-series cross-sectional analysis to scrutinize the impact of religion on those policies in 18 countries over a time span of 50 years. It is shown that the religious effect has an inverse U-shaped relationship with time, increasing and then decreasing again as time passes. We argue that the timing of this dynamic, i.e. the years in which the effect becomes strongest and then ceases again, depends on the specific policy. While religion becomes increasingly irrelevant for the regulation of abortion and homosexuality in recent years, the religious effect is still at its peak for euthanasia and same-sex partnership policies.

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