Sunday, July 19, 2009

How strange are atheists?   posted by Razib @ 7/19/2009 09:20:00 PM
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One of the "theories" I've had for a long time is that the smaller a proportion of a society's population atheists are, the stranger and more deviant they are going to be. A reason I came to this position is that read an account by an atheist American scientist who had some interactions with Soviet religious dissidents during the Cold War. His position was that in many ways American atheists and Soviet religious dissidents exhibited similarities in terms of personality, likely because they were generally not conformists. One of the peculiarities of the massive re-confessionalization of Russian society after the fall of the Soviet Union is the reality that these Communist era dissidents are now being marginalized in many congregations by recent converts who had a background as apparatchiks in the old regime, and were sometimes even actively involved in persecuting their current coreligionists! In any case, what about my hypothesis? Do I have any evidence for it? Not in any substantive manner. So I thought it might be interesting to look in the World Values Survey, naturally. How do attitudes of atheists and religious people vary within a society as a function of the proportion of each group?

I limited the sample to males, because men are more secular on average and exhibit more variance between nations. Additionally, because so many nations have very few atheists I put a lower bound of N = 20 for "convinced atheists." I mollified my own concerns about such a low N with the hope that if an N in a society is that low, the atheists may be strange enough indeed that their deviation from the social median may still swamp the noise. As before, the means for a class were calculated. So, the mean political self position of atheists and the religious is on a 1-10 scale. Below are are the charts for the results of a set of questions which exhibit a 1-10 level of agreement along a spectrum. The position is less important than the difference. First is a simple scatterplot which shows the attitudes of both the religious and atheists by nation. The expectation is a strong correlation between the religious and atheists, because most of the variation is naturally between nations. The second chart shows the difference between the two groups, "Religious persons" and "Convinced Atheists." I excluded those who were "Not religious" from the sample (so those who don't consider themselves religious, but neither are they professed atheists). Lastly, I plotted the difference between atheists and the religious as function of the ratio of religious to atheists. So, for example, the ratio of religious to atheists for Iraq is very high, atheists are a small minority (though to my surprise the N was large enough to stay above the threshold I put). In China the number of convinced atheists and religious are at parity, though those who are without religion and are not atheists are a plural majority.


Looking at these results I'm going to withdraw my model.

* For the "justifiable" questions 1 = never, 10 = always.
* Competition is good = 1, competition is harmful = 10.
* 1 = everything determined by fate, 10 = people shape their fates.
* 1 = gov. more responsibility, 10 = individual more responsibility.
* 1 = incomes more equal, 10 = we need larger differences for incentives.
* 1 = private ownership should be increased, gov. ownership should be increased.
* 1 = science makes world worse off, 10 = better off.
* 1 = Left, 10 = Right.




















































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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Religious people are breeding, producing more religion....(?)   posted by Razib @ 6/21/2009 02:12:00 PM
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I've pointed to the World Values Survey before. It comes in 5 waves spaced out over 2 decades, and has substantial, if not total, coverage. Additionally, for many non-developed countries the educational data to me suggest some high SES skew in terms of representativeness (though spot checking the American data that looks very representative, as there have been other national surveys you can cross-reference it with). On some of my blogs a few commenters have started to follow up posts and use the WVS to answer questions, instead of offering of speculations. It's not as complicated of an interface as the GSS, but it isn't as flexible either. Nevertheless, there are some obvious questions one might ask.

For example in general within societies the religious have more offspring than the non-religious. Even controlling for variables there is often a significant effect. That implies that over time if religiosity is heritable (whether biologically or culturally) societies should become more religious. So a priori assertions such as Mark Steyn's that Turkish secularism is doomed because the rural religious have outbred the citified secularists seem plausible. The WVS can help us answer this sort of question.

For example, if the religious are outbreeding the non-religious and religion is substantially heritable so as to counteract any rate of defection than younger age cohorts should be noticeably more religious, right? Are they in Turkey? I use Turkey as an example to illustrate how useful the WVS can be.

So first go to http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/

I've circled some areas red to click through.



Click the area where I've circled read. You need to jump through some hoops (it uses POST to go from page to page).



















I've broken down the importance of religion as a function of age. There is no trend toward greater religiosity among the young.





I've now broken down by both and age & sex. As in most societies secularism is more pronounced with youth among males.





I went back and looked at another question in regards to the influence of religious leaders on voting. There is no trend of younger people being more supportive of this. There are plenty of other religion & government related questions you can ask. When Steyn made that assertion I made sure to remember to poke around Turkey's WVS results, and they don't seem to support it. The theory is coherent, but the facts do that match. I hope this is a lesson for readers. Theory provides free information. But since there are tools to check inferences one makes from assumptions one should do so before taking theory as a given (all the above took me 3 minutes, excluding screen capture & Photoshop).

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Differences in fertility by class internationally   posted by Razib @ 6/17/2009 01:11:00 AM
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Update: See below....

The World Values Survey has a lot of data broken down by subjective social class. One of these asks how many children an individual has. So I thought it might be of interested to inspect WVS 5, generally taken around 2005, and compare differences by class in term of children. Of course there might be differences in the age breakdowns of the different classes, so that controlling for age there might be greater differences than evident. But as a coarse I thought it would be of interest. Because the data is in proportions I added up the percentage with 3 or more children in class (above replacement). For a few selected nations I calculated the mean for each class (I used WVS 3 and 4 to supplement).*

I didn't go into this with any particular hypothesis or expectation, but I'm going to explore particular questions in future posts....

Date below.

% Who have 3 or more children by class (WVS 5)
Upper middle Lower middle Working Lower
Italy 12.2 13.2 13.7 26.7
Spain 14.4 14.2 26 53.9
Canada 26.2 27.3 33 26.1
Japan 22 23.1 21.7 25.6
South Africa 23.2 26.3 29.3 34.9
Australia 28.8 35.5 35.6 51.6
Sweden 22.6 19.6 23.1 19.2
Argentina 15.2 24.6 35.4 49.7
Finland 24.1 26.2 24.3 23.2
South Korea 13.3 21.8 31.8 28.3
Poland 11 21.2 23.9 31.7
Chile 28 33.3 46.4 47.3
India 40.6 44.2 45.3 59.3
Bulgaria 6.9 4.7 7 22.8
Romania 11.4 15.3 21.6 36.4
China 17.3 22.4 26.7 30.9
Taiwan 24.3 28 43.2 64.5
Turkey 22.5 32 31.4 54.6
Ukraine 3.2 7.8 8 9.6
Peru 29.9 28.7 37.3 53.2
Ghana 21.9 28.1 30.5 41.5
Moldova 12.2 15 26.4 26.5
Georgia 10.9 16.7 24.8 26
Indonesia 29.7 31.1 32.8 43.4
Vietnam 32.9 31.9 34.5 38.4
Serbia 10.3 8.1 10.5 14.5
Egypt 43.9 52.4 57.7 61.8
Morocco 22.7 40.3 44.8 48
Jordan 68.8 71.9 63.5 61.8
Iraq 48.8 45.8 53.2 52.5
Trinidad 24.7 30.2 32 48
Malaysia 29.8 34.1 28.1 41.4
Burkina Faso 27.9 33.4 39.9 44.7
Ethiopia 16.7 10.7 18.7 17.8
Mali 50.3 45.7 57.7 62.5
Rwanda 31.8 42.7 43 44.3
Zambia 18.3 26.5 22.9 39.7
Germany 15.6 19.1 22.6 21.7
WVS 3 & 4
Finland 23.2 24.1 16.8 26.7
Norway 23.6 23.9 25 27.3
Sweden 20.3 19 23.3 24.7


Mean number of children by class
WVS 5 Upper middle Lower middle Working Lower
Sweden 1.58 1.55 1.62 1.56
Finland 1.76 1.64 1.6 1.53
Italy 1.12 1.3 1.25 1.69
Spain 1.23 1.27 1.89 2.57
Canada 1.7 1.74 2.07 1.88
Japan 1.55 1.72 1.59 1.05
South Korea 1.35 1.72 1.85 1.86
Argentina 1.23 1.61 2.24 2.61
WVS 3 & 4 Upper middle Lower middle Working Lower
Finland 1.44 2.45 1.72 1.79
Norway 1.64 1.66 1.73 1.65
Sweden 1.47 1.42 1.67 1.63
Spain 1.31 1.48 1.73 2.15
Argentina 1.29 1.81 2.35 2.77
Canada 1.66 2.01 1.97 1.87
Japan 1.41 1.69 1.59 1.59
United States 1.76 1.6 1.77 N < 50, omitted


Mean # of children USA from GSS, whites age 50 and over (year 2000 and after)
Graduate degre Bachelor Junior College High School Less than High School
1.95 2.12 2.41 2.48 3.07



Readers with insights about a specific nation (because you actually know something, not rank speculation) are welcome to clarify. I was struck by the differences between Scandinavia and southern Europe. Interestingly, both Chile and Argentina exhibit the southern European pattern.

Update: Mean fertility by subjective class isn't too hard to calculate. But the formatting is kind of crappy, so I put the table here. All from WVS 5. Remember that the N's for "Upper Class" are almost always very small, so I'd ignore those. I'm pretty sure that the survey sample for many Third World countries are of higher SES than the population median, so don't get too trusting of the specific numbers, but rather how the rank orders relate to each other up and down the social ladder.

Note: CSV file.

* I should have calculated the mean for each nation, but it's rather tedious.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Religious & national trust   posted by Razib @ 6/11/2009 06:00:00 AM
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The World Values Survey Wave 5 has several questions about how much people trust others. In particular, one question asks about religion and another nationality. There are four responses:

-Trust completely
-Trust a little
-Not trust very much
-Not trust at all

In the WVS there are proportions for each class for many nations. I took each proportion, and multiplied them by a number where:

-Trust completely = 3
-Trust a little = 2
-Not trust very much = 1
-Not trust at all = 0

So that if 100% did not trust at all the number would add to 0, and if 100% trusted complete it would add to 4. Naturally most nations fell in between with a range. I assumed that there would be a strong correlation between the two values. It was very strong, as evidenced by the charts below.




OK, so how does religious trust related to how important people think is in their own lives? Again, there are four categories, from very important to not important at all. Again weighting the proportions so that 4 = very important and 0 = not important at all. So how about religious trust vs. religion important?



No need to label, there's just no relationship. Weird. I also drilled down for selected nations to see if there was a relationship within the nations in regards to trust (both kinds here) and how important religion was. Not really. In fact, in many nations the least religious trusted those of other religions the least, so it might be expressing a general anti-religious sentiment. As an anecdote I friend whose husband was French one commented how secular French have a distrust of religion in general, and view non-traditional religions with particular distaste, viewing them as cults (non-traditional as in evangelical Protestantism, Hare Krishna, etc.).

The raw data....

Religious Trust National Trust Religion Important
Sweden 2.03 2.08 1.09
France 1.99 2.01 1.26
Great Britain 1.87 1.86 1.36
Mali 1.85 1.7 2.89
Finland 1.85 1.77 1.48
United States 1.81 1.75 2.1
Canada 1.8 1.76 1.76
Australia 1.74 1.77 1.29
Switzerland 1.72 1.76 1.4
Andorra 1.71 1.8 0.98
South Africa 1.7 1.42 2.58
Rwanda 1.67 1.31 2.35
Argentina 1.63 1.56 1.88
Trinidad 1.6 1.48 2.64
Burkina Faso 1.55 1.42 2.8
Ghana 1.5 1.14 2.88
Taiwan 1.42 1.16 1.52
Poland 1.4 1.37 2.32
Brazil 1.4 0.86 2.39
Netherlands 1.38 1.35 1.04
Spain 1.37 1.41 1.24
India 1.36 1.12 2.27
Ethiopia 1.36 1.13 2.73
South Korea 1.35 1.11 1.5
Bulgaria 1.35 1.34 1.53
Indonesia 1.32 1.2 2.93
Georgia 1.31 1.56 2.77
Germany 1.29 1.28 1.08
Ukraine 1.27 1.34 1.6
Zambia 1.26 0.95 2.71
Italy 1.26 1.31 2.04
Malaysia 1.23 0.87 2.76
Chile 1.21 1.09 2.05
Thailand 1.16 1.01 2.5
Russia 1.15 1.21 1.44
Vietnam 1.15 1 1.2
Slovenia 1.11 1.12 1.32
Romania 1.1 1.08 2.46
Jordan 1.05 1 2.94
Mexico 1.02 0.84 2.41
Turkey 1.01 1 2.64
Cyprus 1 1.03 2.29
Moldova 0.98 1.18 1.98
Morocco 0.91 0.91 2.89
Peru 0.89 0.68 2.21
China 0.89 0.8 0.82

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Polygyny as a function of nation and religion   posted by Razib @ 6/07/2009 01:38:00 PM
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TGGP has a post up where he looks at attitudes toward polygyny in predominantly Muslim nations. The question is:
To what extent do you agree or disagree with men having more than one wife? Do you strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree?


I decided to break-down by religion in those nations which had a large non-Muslim population. Results below.


Bangladesh

Indonesia

Jordan

Nigeria

Pakistan

Egypt


Muslim Hindu Muslim Roman Catholic Muslim Roman Catholic Muslim Protestant Shia Sunni Muslim Christian
Agree strongly 1.5 1.9 3 0 5.7 1.8 53.5 12.9 0 0 2.6 1.8
Agree 3.9 1.9 16.8 4.6 13.8 0 20.5 9.6 1.7 1 8 1.8
Neither 12.2 5.6 10.4 3.1 10.2 3.1 7.8 9.8 3.5 4 9.5 1.8
Disagree 48.2 50.5 44 40 17 7.7 8.6 27.2 25 40.6 79.7 94.6
Strongly disagree 34.2 40.2 25.7 52.3 53.3 87.4 9.5 40.4 69.8 54.4 0.1 0


Update: Above I only posted those Muslim nations with large enough religious minorities for there to be comparisons. Here are the frequencies who "strongly agree" + "agree" with men having more than one wife for all the nations:

Algeria - 43
Bangladesh - 5.5
Indonesia - 18.7
Iran - 11.5
Iraq - 47.1
Jordan - 18.7
Morocco - 37.5
Nigeria - 39.4
Pakistan - 1.1
Saudi Arabia - 42.1
Turkey - 15.6
Egypt - 10.3

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Fate vs. Control by nation   posted by Razib @ 6/01/2009 10:19:00 AM
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The World Values Survey has a question of the form:
Some people believe that individuals can decide their own destiny, while others think that it is impossible to escape a predetermined fate. Please tell me which comes closest to your view on this scale on which 1 means "everything in life is determined by fate," and 10 means that "people shape their fate themselves."


Below the fold are the percentages in selected nations which picked "10," which is basically the least fatalistic position.


People Shape Their Fate Themselves
Mexico 50.5
Peru 45.5
Jordan 35.3
Argentina 33.7
Vietnam 28.4
Chile 28.1
Trinidad 27.3
Brazil 25.6
Slovenia 22.3
Iran 21.9
China 21.2
Cyprus 20.9
Indonesia 18.9
Zambia 18.7
Sweden 18.5
Georgia 18.2
South Africa 17
Turkey 16.2
Moldova 15.7
Andora 15.6
Ghana 15.3
Australia 14.7
South Korea 14.5
Taiwan 14.4
Romania 13.8
USA 13.7
Ukraine 13.5
Canada 13.2
Spain 12
Brukina Faso 11.2
Germany 11
Japan 10.7
Bulgaria 10.4
Ethiopia 10.3
Poland 9.6
Switzerland 9.6
Thailand 9.5
Serbia 8.7
Malaysia 8.1
Mali 8
Italy 7.6
Finland 6.7
Rwanda 5.3
Egypt 1.3
Morocco 0.5

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Children, the ideal vs. the realized internationally   posted by Razib @ 5/19/2009 10:49:00 PM
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I looked at data from the World Values Survey in terms of the actual proportion of those in the age group 30-49 for various countries who have 2 or fewer children, vs. those in that age group who thought 2 or fewer was the ideal number. I aggregated Wave 3 and Wave 4 surveys, so the times range from 1995 to 2002. Data, etc., below.


Proportions surveyed for those in age group 30-49



2 or fewer children 2 or fewer children "ideal" Difference between actual and ideal
Bangladesh 43.9 90.1 -46.2
India 43.5 74.7 -31.2
Vietnam 58.3 85.2 -26.9
Iran 52.8 73 -20.2
Turkey 48.7 63.9 -15.2
China 82.9 93.3 -10.4
Peru 54.3 62.3 -8
Mexico 46.2 53.2 -7
Taiwan 53.9 59.4 -5.5
Egypt 34.4 37.2 -2.8
El Salvador 46.8 48.3 -1.5
Czech 80.5 81.9 -1.4
Great Britain 77 78.2 -1.2
Puerto Rico 57.4 58.2 -0.8
Uruguay 64.1 64.3 -0.2
Venezuela 50.7 50.7 0
Germany 84.2 83.9 0.3
Romania 82.1 81.8 0.3
Slovakia 75.4 71.1 4.3
Azerbaijan 64 57.4 6.6
Brazil 62.6 55.9 6.7
Morocco 58.1 50.5 7.6
Chile 61.8 53.9 7.9
USA 70 61.1 8.9
Switzerland 80.5 71.2 9.3
Bulgaria 88.7 79.2 9.5
Argentina 55.8 46.3 9.5
Albania 62.1 52.5 9.6
Australia 70.6 60.9 9.7
Spain 82.3 72.5 9.8
Indonesia 48.1 37.8 10.3
Colombia 62.6 51.4 11.2
South Africa 58.4 47 11.4
Hungary 80.2 68.5 11.7
Iraq 28.8 16.9 11.9
Belarus 91.4 79 12.4
Ukraine 88.2 75.6 12.6
Pakistan 53.7 39.8 13.9
Russia 89.6 75.2 14.4
Poland 69.3 54.8 14.5
Jordan 26 11.5 14.5
Philippines 39.6 23.5 16.1
Canada 75.1 58.5 16.6
Finland 75.3 58.3 17
Sweden 74.6 57.2 17.4
Uganda 31.5 12.4 19.1
Saudi Arabia 39.4 20.1 19.3
South Korea 81.6 61.9 19.7
Slovenia 84.2 64 20.2
New Zealand 66.7 46.3 20.4
Zimbabwe 34.7 11.3 23.4
Macedonia 82.4 56.9 25.5
Singapore 79.9 54.4 25.5
Dominican Republic 48.9 23.3 25.6
Tanzania 43.1 17.4 25.7
Kyrgyzstan 49 21.9 27.1
Lithuania 85 57.7 27.3
Moldova 71.5 43.6 27.9
Armenia 64.9 36.8 28.1
Bosnia 81.9 53.4 28.5
Estonia 85.4 55.3 30.1
Nigeria 37.3 5.7 31.6
Croatia 82.3 46.4 35.9
Japan 77.5 41.5 36
Latvia 83.3 46 37.3
Serbia 79.4 39.9 39.5
Georgia 78.3 18.6 59.7



Now a chart, here's how you'd read it:

Top of the Y axis = low fertility in the 30-49 age group (lots of people with 2 or fewer children)

To the right of the X axis = nations with low fertility preferences in the 30-49 age group (lots of people who think 2 or fewer children is the ideal)

The line represents X = Y. So nations above the line are those where there is more ideal preference for children than the reality, while nations below the line there is more reality, so to speak, than the ideal.



There seems to be a situation where in many nations people want more children than they are having. That is, their avowed preference is greater than what is revealed by their behavior. There are general clusters. The "breeder nations," where people do have many children, but want even more, and the other set where populations are underperforming even their mild expectations. No surprise that the post-Communist nations are in the second category, but interestingly the East Asian nations of Japan and South Korea fall into this range. Interestingly, these are also nations which tend to be rather secular for their social conservatism from a Western perspective. Georgia is not a typo, though I wouldn't be surprised there was a problem with the data (it might be coded or entered incorrectly).

Then there are nations where people have more children than they want. Iran has some specific historical conditions which can explain this. During the Iran-Iraq War the Iranian leadership was pro-natalist, but in its wake they have strongly encouraged family planning. Iran is now a sub-replacement nation when it comes to fertility. Vietnam and India have experienced economic turnarounds of late due to their relatively late entrance into the game of globalization. These surveys occurred around the year 2000, about 10 years into both of their liberalization programs. One might be seeing the outcomes of earlier norms overlain upon new mores due to international media. Finally, as far as Bangladesh goes, it is an ethnically and religiously homogeneous nation, so there isn't a national imperative whereby ethnic groups worry about other groups outbreeding them. Additionally, it is very, very, crowded. There are many poor African nations, but aside from Rwanda and Burundi, all of them are far below the Malthusian parameters when it comes to primary production in relation to Bangladesh.

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Avowed condemnation of bribery does not predict corruption   posted by Razib @ 5/03/2009 01:38:00 AM
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Below when I compared the Nordic countries and Italy on a host of variables, I noted in the comments that it was rather amusing that 99% of the people in Bangladesh asserted that bribery was never justifiable, while only 69% of Swedes did. More specifically, the World Values Survey simply asked if bribery was ever justifiable, and there 10 options, with 0 = never justifiable and 10 = always justifiable. So 99% of the Bangladeshis chose 0, while only 69% of Swedes did. Plotting the 2008 Corruptions Perceptions Index scores from Transparency International against the proportion who chose 0, bribery is never justifiable, resulted in this:





Here's the raw data:


Bribery Never Justifiable CPI
Sweden 68.5 9.3
Singapore 76.6 9.2
Denmark 92.9 9.2
Finland 79.7 9
Netherlands 72.6 8.9
Iceland 87.1 8.9
Canada 80.3 8.7
Luxembourg 70.8 8.3
Austria 72.3 8.1
Germany 64.6 7.9
Great Britain 67.4 7.7
USA 80 7.3
Japan 83 7.3
Belgium 67.7 7.3
Chile 70.9 6.9
France 67.1 6.9
Slovenia 73.5 6.7
Estonia 66.9 6.6
Spain 71.9 6.5
Portugal 73.7 6.1
Israel 86.1 6
Malta 94.2 5.8
Puerto Rico 89.8 5.8
Korea 80.2 5.6
Czech Republic 51.4 5.2
Jordan 96.4 5.1
Hungary 53.3 5.1
Slovakia 39.4 5
Latvia 74.4 5
South Africa 61.1 4.9
Lithuania 66.7 4.8
Italy 79.3 4.8
Greece 64.4 4.7
Poland 76.8 4.6
Turkey 93.7 4.6
Croatia 79.1 4.4
Romania 80.2 3.8
Bulgaria 77.6 3.6
Peru 72.7 3.6
Mexico 72.5 3.6
China 83.4 3.6
Macedonia 86.7 3.6
Saudi Arabia 77 3.5
Morocco 97.7 3.5
Serbia 85.4 3.4
Albania 53 3.4
India 85 3.4
Algeria 88.6 3.2
Bosnia 85.5 3.2
Tanzania 92.1 3
Argentina 92 2.9
Nigeria 63.3 2.9
Moldova 49.2 2.9
Egypt 94 2.8
Vietnam 93.5 2.7
Uganda 72.6 2.6
Indonesia 82.5 2.6
Pakistan 91.9 2.5
Ukraine 64.1 2.5
Iran 93.3 2.3
Philippines 39.5 2.3
Russia 70.3 2.1
Bangladesh 99 2.1
Belarus 39.3 2
Venezuela 75.1 1.9
Kyrgyzstan 73.4 1.8
Zimbabwe 91.9 1.8
Iraq 84.6 1.3



Eastern Europeans and Filipinos are at least honest about their "pragmatism."

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Is Sweden more stereotypically Nordic than Finland?   posted by Razib @ 5/01/2009 09:12:00 PM
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Over the years several Finnish readers (OK, one specific Finnish reader) has made the repeated claim that some of the stereotypes that Americans have of politically correct (Fenno)-Scandinavians is actually typical of Sweden, and not Finland, or even the other Nordic countries. As I've been poking around The World Values Survey I think there is something to this. There are some sets of questions where the Swedes give much more "Politically Correct" answers than Finns, or even other Nordics. I note that the answers are Politically Correct because I'm not necessarily saying that the answers someone gives on a survey necessarily translates into the same magnitude of public policy difference. The World Values Survey happens to have Denmark, Sweden and Finland (at least the Four-wave Aggregate of the Values Studies which I'm using). I decided to post responses to a large range of questions (obviously a finite set) for these three nations, as well as Italy as European outgroup. Many of the responses were as you would expect; the Nordic countries are more openly secular than Italy. The fact that Italians were more hostile to the idea of living next to large families also was not surprising, at least judging from what I've heard of how they view the French as breeders. On the other hand, there are a host of questions where Sweden is the outgroup, and another set where Sweden and Denmark are relatively close, with Finland approaching Italy in social outlooks. Finally, many of the results reinforce an interesting point that was clear when I looked at Hong Kong: socialist nations often exhibit some fatigue at the extent of the nanny state, while nations with thinner social safety nets have a more positive attitude toward future extension of the welfare state. Since the results below are a finite subset I invite readers to go in and explore The World Values Survey themselves.

Note: Sample sizes are around 1,000 for each nation. Additionally the surveys were done in 1999 to 2001.


Denmark Finland Italy Sweden
Family very important 87.1 80 90 89.5
Politics very important 8.1 3.7 8 11.4
Religion very important 7.9 13.8 33 10.7
Very happy 45.1 24.3 18.4 36.7
Mentions good manners as important child quality 72.4 89.8 74.8 70.3
Mentions independence as important child quality 80.7 57.6 41.1 68.8
Mentions hard work as important child quality 2.1 12 36.1 3.9
Mentions tolerance and respect as important child quality 87.3 82.7 75 92.5
Mentions thrift as important child quality 9.6 22.6 34.7 30.5
Mentions religious faith as important child quality 8.2 15.7 31.4 4.9
Mentions unselfishness as important child quality 55.8 20.8 41.4 32.7
Mentions obedience as important child quality 14.4 30.2 27.8 12.7
Approve abortion when woman not married 81.4 59.1 38.8 89.8
Approve abortion if no more children wanted 72.5 52.3 31 85
Spend time with friends weekly 60.1 60.3 61.9 66.5
Spend time with people at sport, cultural or communal organization 27.3 43.6 55.4 38.5
Frequently discusses politics with friends 24.9 7.4 12.9 19.4
Belong to social welfare organization 6.5 10.4 6.4 20.8
Belong to human rights organization 4.1 5.9 2.8 15
Belong to environmental group 13.1 4.5 3.8 11.3
Would not like to have criminal neighbor 30.6 39.4 47.4 33
Would not like to have neighbor of different race 7.4 12.4 15.6 2.5
Would not like to have neighbor who is heavy drinker 36.1 51 40.4 33.2
Would not like to have neighbor who is Muslim 16.3 19.3 17.2 9
Would not like to have neighbor who is immigrant 10.6 13 16.5 2.8
Would not like to have neighbor who has AIDS 5.8 20.9 31 6.7
Would not like to have neighbor who is drug addict 59.7 75.3 54.6 60.4
Would not like to have neighbor who is homosexual 8 21.3 28.7 6.1
Would not like to have neighbor who is a Jew 2.5 8.6 12.9 2.1
Would not like to have neighbor who is Gypsy 15.3 44.3 55.6 19.9
Would not like to have neighbor who is Left-wing extremist 9.2 13.3 28.2 23
Would not like to have neighbor who is Right-wing extremist 20.4 17.8 30 47.8
Would not like to have large families as neighbors 4.4 7.5 13.9 4.1
Most people can be trusted 66.5 58 32.6 66.3
Strongly agree with increasing taxes to prevent pollution 22.1 8 6.5 28.2
Agree men should have jobs when they are scarce 6.2 9.9 27 2.3
Agree employers should give priority to natives over immigrants 34.3 65.3 61.4 11.3
Strongly agree that people should not have to work if they don't want to 2.3 5.5 4.8 2
Agree that child needs home with father and mother 66.9 60.4 92.4 60.1
Approve of woman as single parent 52.3 53.6 27.5 31.7
Agree strongly that women want children and home 3 9.6 17 9.1
Disagree strongly that women want children and home 27.2 8.9 3.3 27.3
Agree marriage is outdated 15 18 17 20.4
Agree strongly that long-term relationship necessary to be happy 15.1 8.7 20.1 11.7
Faithfulness very important for successful marriage 84.3 81.6 84.1 88.5
Respect & appreciation very important for successful marriage 84.7 85.7 90.2 93.9
Religious beliefs very important for successful marriage 12.7 15.3 23.4 12.9
Agreement on politics very important for successful marriage 1.7 4.2 7.2 5.9
Understanding & tolerance very important for successful marriage 79.3 69 81.4 87.2
Children very important for successful marriage 36 54.7 58.2 58.9
Agree strongly that being a housewife just as fulfilling 13.8 30.4 12.6 17
Disagree strongly that being a housewife just as fulfilling 9.8 2.4 7.7 14.1
Eliminating very big income inequalities very important 10.1 30.5 34.9 17.9
Eliminating very big income inequalities not at all important 23.8 3.9 6.3 7.3
Guaranteeing basic needs for all very important 48.3 68.6 70.4 71.3
Guaranteeing basic needs for all not at all important 5.1 0.9 1.1 1.4
More emphasis on technology in future good thing 61.9 54.9 64.5 35.3
More emphasis on the individual in future good thing 93.3 89.7 92.4 89.7
More emphasis on respect for authority in future good thing 38.2 39.2 51.3 22.2
More emphasis on family life in future good thing 95.3 94.9 92.3 78.1
The government should take more responsibility (10) 1.3 3.1 12.2 1.8
People should take more responsibility (0) 11.4 11.7 8.6 14.7
Competition is good (0) 13.8 10.8 18.7 17.9
Competition is harmful (10) 2.3 2.4 4.4 0.8
State should control firms 3.7 2.4 8.5 2
Private sector should have freedom to run firms 13.2 9 15.3 14.9
A great deal of confidence in the United Nations 9.2 5.2 18.2 14.2
Emphasis on freedom over equality 69.4 53.1 39.7 61.6
Concerned with living conditions of immigrants 4.3 3.3 6.6 7.1
Prepared to help immigrants – Absolutely yes 5.6 2.7 6 10.7
Prepared to help sick & disabled – Absolutely yes 19.4 15.4 19.1 28.2
Prepared to help immediate family – Absolutely yes 58.8 53 50.2 78.8
Let anyone come (Open Borders) 7.4 10.3 9.7 16.3
Strict limits to immigration 66.1 51.9 38.3 28.7
Immigrants should maintain distinct customs & traditions 23.4 32 59.7 36
Religious person 76.5 66.6 85.8 38.9
Clear guidelines about what is good & evil 10.4 29.3 26.4 15.8
Attend religious services once a week 2 3.2 30.3 3.3
Believe in God – No 31.1 17.5 6.5 46.6
Believe in reincarnation – No 82.7 81.6 82.2 78
Do you believe lucky charm protects? - Definitely not 65.4 60.4 68.6 61.5
Baptism important? - Yes 65.3 84.3 89 59.8
Church wedding important? - Yes 63 82.7 84.9 62.4
Funeral with religious services important? - Yes 79.9 89.8 89.4 77.6
Politics who don't believe in God unfit for office – Strongly Disagree 60.3 22 15.3 47.5
Cheating on taxes never justifiable 65.6 52.9 56.6 50.7
Accepting bribe never justifiable 92.9 79.9 79.3 68.5
Suicide never justifiable 51.1 41.1 62.2 28.8
Divorce never justifiable 7 3.1 18.5 2.1
Lying never justifiable 60.7 40.3 50.7 41.4
Adultery never justifiable 67.1 52.5 50.7 50.5
Throwing away litter never justifiable 79.8 51.4 73.8 43.8
Casual sex never justifiable 46.3 33.8 48.5 26.6
Very proud of nationality 48 56.1 39.3 41.4

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Communism setting the stage for capitalism   posted by Razib @ 4/26/2009 12:07:00 AM
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Over at ScienceBlogs I have a post which highlights the bizarre likelihood that in China atheists are actually some more hostile to the precepts of godless Communism than the religious. I talked to Michael Vassar about this and he thought it was curious that Chinese atheists are probably among the segments of the world population most likely to appreciate the non-zero sum power of capitalism and economic growth. Well, I guess Mao and the Cultural Revolution would do that to you, right? In any case, in the World Values Survey there is a question about income inequality, here 0 = Incomes Should Be Made More Equal, and 10 = We need larger income differences as incentives. Below the fold are a selection of nations with the proportions of those in the 15-29 age ranges who agree with a "10" when it comes to income inequality.



France 4.7
Great Britain 5.2
Italy 3.7
United States 5.3
Canada 6.4
Japan 6.2
Australia 4.8
Sweden 2.9
Finland 3.1
South Korea 12
Poland 11.9
Brazil 16.7
Slovenia 5.4
Romania 8.7
China 14.7
Taiwan 12.9
Ukraine 21.4
Russia 34.4
Thailand 9.8
Serbia 13.8
New Zealand 6.4
Hong Kong 1.7



Hong Kong, by the way, had the population which was most averse to income inequality....

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Religion, the United States, Sweden, South Korea and Japan   posted by Razib @ 4/14/2009 10:59:00 PM
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It turns out that the World Values Survey has a decent web interface, rather like the GSS. As an exercise I thought I would compare 4 nations when it came to religious attitudes, the United States, Sweden, South Korea and Japan. The United States because most readers are American. Sweden because it is the apotheosis of European secularity. Japan because it is generally presumed to be an apathetic non-Western nation when it comes to religion. And South Korea, which sends more Christianity missionaries than any nation aside from the United States. The data for South Korea are usually a revelation for Americans, as we are conditioned by the dominant role of conservative Protestantism among our own ethnic Korean population, it is somewhat of a surprise when digging into the data to note that Korea is a much more secular nation than the United States.

BASE=4531
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
Religious person A religious person 44.9 % 26.5 % 30.9 % 38.9 % 82.5 %
Not a religious person 41.4 % 59.7 % 37.7 % 54.4 % 16.0 %
A convinced atheist 13.7 % 13.8 % 31.4 % 6.7 % 1.4 %
Total 4531 (100%) 1186 (100%) 1198 (100%) 968 (100%) 1180 (100%)



BASE=4586
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
How important is God in your life Not at all important 13.7 % 12.6 % 12.2 % 28.9 % 3.7 %
2 7.6 % 9.8 % 8.1 % 11.4 % 1.7 %
3 9.1 % 13.1 % 10.6 % 11.0 % 2.1 %
4 4.9 % 3.7 % 7.0 % 7.7 % 1.8 %
5 11.2 % 11.6 % 17.2 % 12.2 % 3.8 %
6 10.1 % 21.6 % 8.1 % 6.1 % 3.9 %
7 7.2 % 9.2 % 7.5 % 5.6 % 6.1 %
8 7.6 % 8.7 % 7.3 % 5.4 % 8.6 %
9 5.5 % 2.8 % 6.1 % 2.8 % 9.9 %
Very important 23.1 % 6.9 % 15.9 % 9.0 % 58.3 %
Total 4586 (100%) 1194 (100%) 1198 (100%) 996 (100%) 1198 (100%)
Base for mean 4586 1194 1198 996 1198
Mean 5.8 5.0 5.5 4.1 8.5
Standard Deviation 3.21 2.65 2.99 2.97 2.45



BASE=3874
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
Get comfort and strength from religion No 44.8 % 64.9 % 32.9 % 66.8 % 20.4 %
Yes 55.2 % 35.1 % 67.1 % 33.2 % 79.6 %
Total 3874 (100%) 950 (100%) 856 (100%) 895 (100%) 1173 (100%)



BASE=4661
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
Statement: good and evil Clear guidelines about what is good and evil 30.7 % 19.2 % 37.0 % 15.8 % 49.2 %
Depends upon circumstances at the time 64.4 % 69.3 % 63.0 % 81.0 % 46.6 %
Disagree with both 4.9 % 11.5 % - 3.2 % 4.2 %
Total 4661 (100%) 1277 (100%) 1199 (100%) 999 (100%) 1186 (100%)



BASE=4614
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
Belong to religious denomination No 35.4 % 55.6 % 36.8 % 24.2 % 21.5 %
Yes 64.6 % 44.4 % 63.2 % 75.8 % 78.5 %
Total 4614 (100%) 1267 (100%) 1196 (100%) 1015 (100%) 1136 (100%)



BASE=4752
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
How often do you attend religious services More than once a week 8.0 % 1.7 % 13.1 % 0.5 % 16.4 %
Once a week 12.9 % 2.4 % 17.1 % 3.3 % 28.8 %
Once a month 9.3 % 8.3 % 8.0 % 5.6 % 15.1 %
Only on special holy days/Christmas/Easter days 19.9 % 43.2 % 11.2 % 10.6 % 10.5 %
Once a year 14.3 % 22.1 % 6.9 % 21.4 % 7.0 %
Less often 15.5 % 13.8 % 27.6 % 13.2 % 7.5 %
Never practically never 19.9 % 8.6 % 16.0 % 45.6 % 14.8 %
Total 4752 (100%) 1343 (100%) 1198 (100%) 1013 (100%) 1198 (100%)



BASE=4384
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
Moments of prayer, meditation... No 41.5 % 60.1 % 41.1 % 56.0 % 10.7 %
Yes 58.5 % 39.9 % 58.9 % 44.0 % 89.3 %
Total 4384 (100%) 1229 (100%) 954 (100%) 1004 (100%) 1198 (100%)



BASE=4602
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
Politicians who donĀ“t believe in God are unfit for public office Agree strongly 6.3 % 2.3 % 2.9 % 1.7 % 17.8 %
Agree 9.1 % 5.5 % 7.4 % 2.3 % 20.5 %
Neither agree or disagree 31.0 % 50.8 % 30.5 % 11.5 % 26.0 %
Disagree 32.5 % 26.1 % 41.9 % 37.0 % 27.3 %
Strongly disagree 21.1 % 15.3 % 17.2 % 47.5 % 8.5 %
Total 4602 (100%) 1328 (100%) 1074 (100%) 1010 (100%) 1190 (100%)



BASE=4651
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
Religious leaders should not influence how people vote Agree strongly 28.6 % 33.0 % 25.0 % 34.3 % 22.3 %
Agree 40.5 % 41.2 % 44.4 % 33.9 % 41.5 %
Neither agree or disagree 16.2 % 20.4 % 19.1 % 10.2 % 14.1 %
Disagree 10.8 % 3.5 % 8.4 % 14.4 % 18.3 %
Strongly disagree 3.8 % 1.9 % 3.1 % 7.3 % 3.8 %
Total 4651 (100%) 1326 (100%) 1122 (100%) 1009 (100%) 1194 (100%)



BASE=4540
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
Better if more people with strong religious beliefs in public office Agree strongly 6.9 % 1.4 % 6.3 % 2.1 % 17.6 %
Agree 14.8 % 3.9 % 18.0 % 6.7 % 31.0 %
Neither agree or disagree 29.0 % 31.6 % 36.2 % 21.3 % 26.5 %
Disagree 30.4 % 36.3 % 28.2 % 38.3 % 19.2 %
Strongly disagree 18.8 % 26.7 % 11.3 % 31.6 % 5.7 %
Total 4540 (100%) 1324 (100%) 1028 (100%) 1003 (100%) 1185 (100%)



BASE=4607
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
Religious leaders should not influence government Agree strongly 24.1 % 33.1 % 20.6 % 24.4 % 17.0 %
Agree 34.7 % 39.2 % 36.7 % 27.4 % 34.0 %
Neither agree or disagree 23.0 % 22.0 % 30.3 % 20.3 % 19.7 %
Disagree 14.1 % 4.0 % 9.7 % 21.1 % 23.6 %
Strongly disagree 4.1 % 1.7 % 2.7 % 6.8 % 5.7 %
Total 4607 (100%) 1320 (100%) 1103 (100%) 995 (100%) 1189 (100%)



BASE=4718
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
Justifiable: cheating on taxes Never justifiable 68.8 % 83.5 % 74.7 % 50.7 % 62.1 %
2 11.1 % 6.2 % 11.6 % 17.1 % 11.0 %
3 6.7 % 4.0 % 6.1 % 10.0 % 7.4 %
4 3.1 % 1.5 % 2.1 % 5.4 % 4.0 %
5 4.4 % 2.4 % 2.8 % 8.3 % 5.0 %
6 1.9 % 0.7 % 1.0 % 2.5 % 3.7 %
7 1.1 % 0.1 % 0.5 % 2.4 % 1.9 %
8 1.0 % 0.3 % 0.3 % 2.1 % 1.5 %
9 0.4 % 0.2 % 0.3 % 0.5 % 0.9 %
Always justifiable 1.3 % 1.2 % 0.7 % 1.0 % 2.4 %
Total 4718 (100%) 1312 (100%) 1199 (100%) 1009 (100%) 1198 (100%)
Base for mean 4718 1312 1199 1009 1198
Mean 1.9 1.5 1.6 2.4 2.3
Standard Deviation 1.81 1.40 1.38 2.01 2.20



BASE=4724
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
Justifiable: someone accepting a bribe Never justifiable 78.4 % 83.0 % 80.2 % 68.5 % 80.0 %
2 8.7 % 5.1 % 10.3 % 13.0 % 7.4 %
3 4.7 % 3.9 % 4.7 % 7.3 % 3.6 %
4 2.3 % 1.6 % 1.8 % 3.4 % 2.8 %
5 2.6 % 3.3 % 1.6 % 2.8 % 2.6 %
6 1.0 % 1.1 % 0.3 % 1.4 % 1.2 %
7 0.7 % 0.2 % 0.5 % 1.4 % 0.7 %
8 0.7 % 0.8 % 0.1 % 1.2 % 0.7 %
9 0.3 % 0.2 % 0.3 % 0.1 % 0.4 %
Always justifiable 0.7 % 0.9 % 0.4 % 1.0 % 0.6 %
Total 4724 (100%) 1314 (100%) 1199 (100%) 1013 (100%) 1198 (100%)
Base for mean 4724 1314 1199 1013 1198
Mean 1.6 1.5 1.4 1.8 1.6
Standard Deviation 1.46 1.48 1.14 1.68 1.48



BASE=4553
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
Justifiable: homosexuality Never justifiable 31.8 % 29.8 % 52.7 % 8.7 % 31.6 %
2 5.6 % 5.7 % 9.8 % 2.8 % 3.6 %
3 6.0 % 9.2 % 7.3 % 2.8 % 4.1 %
4 4.4 % 5.3 % 4.6 % 2.4 % 4.7 %
5 13.6 % 15.8 % 11.9 % 10.0 % 16.1 %
6 7.5 % 12.0 % 3.0 % 3.3 % 11.1 %
7 4.2 % 4.1 % 3.8 % 4.3 % 4.6 %
8 5.8 % 6.6 % 3.5 % 8.4 % 5.3 %
9 3.5 % 2.2 % 1.0 % 6.6 % 4.7 %
Always justifiable 17.6 % 9.4 % 2.3 % 50.6 % 14.1 %
Total 4553 (100%) 1200 (100%) 1199 (100%) 978 (100%) 1177 (100%)
Base for mean 4553 1200 1199 978 1177
Mean 4.8 4.4 2.8 7.7 4.8
Standard Deviation 3.40 2.98 2.44 3.07 3.25



BASE=4607
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
Justifiable: abortion Never justifiable 22.3 % 14.6 % 36.9 % 5.4 % 29.7 %
2 7.0 % 7.4 % 10.8 % 1.7 % 7.0 %
3 8.5 % 12.4 % 10.2 % 4.2 % 6.2 %
4 6.0 % 7.6 % 7.1 % 3.2 % 5.5 %
5 16.6 % 21.3 % 17.1 % 11.8 % 15.4 %
6 9.9 % 14.6 % 4.8 % 7.7 % 12.2 %
7 6.4 % 6.2 % 5.5 % 8.3 % 5.8 %
8 8.2 % 8.7 % 3.8 % 14.1 % 7.1 %
9 3.7 % 2.6 % 2.2 % 8.1 % 2.9 %
Always justifiable 11.4 % 4.5 % 1.7 % 35.4 % 8.1 %
Total 4607 (100%) 1224 (100%) 1199 (100%) 993 (100%) 1191 (100%)
Base for mean 4607 1224 1199 993 1191
Mean 4.9 4.7 3.4 7.4 4.4
Standard Deviation 3.02 2.50 2.46 2.72 2.97



BASE=4630
Weight [with split ups]
Country/region
Total Japan Republic of Korea Sweden United States
Justifiable: divorce Never justifiable 9.3 % 5.5 % 21.0 % 2.1 % 7.5 %
2 3.8 % 2.8 % 7.7 % 1.3 % 2.8 %
3 5.8 % 6.5 % 8.1 % 2.0 % 6.2 %
4 5.9 % 5.3 % 7.2 % 4.8 % 6.1 %
5 20.0 % 19.3 % 23.7 % 12.2 % 23.7 %
6 12.0 % 16.5 % 8.1 % 6.4 % 15.9 %
7 7.9 % 6.7 % 7.7 % 8.0 % 9.4 %
8 10.7 % 12.1 % 6.9 % 14.0 % 10.3 %
9 6.1 % 5.8 % 4.8 % 8.9 % 5.4 %
Always justifiable 18.5 % 19.5 % 4.9 % 40.3 % 12.6 %
Total 4630 (100%) 1233 (100%) 1198 (100%) 1004 (100%) 1195 (100%)
Base for mean 4630 1233 1198 1004 1195
Mean 6.1 6.4 4.6 7.8 5.9
Standard Deviation 2.81 2.62 2.70 2.42 2.53



The data are open to many interpretations. You can actually do more fine-grained analysis, but I'll leave that for the readers. I would say:

1) South Koreans are more religious than the Japanese, but also just as starkly they are more polarized. Look at the first table and how many Koreans asserted that they were convinced atheists, as opposed to the more mellow Japanese and Swedes. Japan and Sweden are clearly more secular than South Korea, but since religious controversy isn't a feature of their public life, atheism vs. theism is less of an issue.

2) From a Western perspective the American & Swedish data are rather easy to interpret. The high rates of Swedish affiliation despite their secularity is simply due to the history of the established Lutheran church in that nation (only recently disestablished last I checked), and the customary attachment which most Swedes have to the institution. Aside from that, Sweden is secular and the United States not so much. South Korea and Japan are harder to interpret. Despite being very secular Japan is obviously rather conservative when it comes to many social mores, and Korea exhibits the same tendency. Rather than pinning down a specific explanation it is important to note that the role of institutional organized religion has been relatively marginal in these two societies until recently, and what role it did play was of low prestige compared to that in Western societies. In fact it can be argued that South Korea is simultaneously becoming a more religious and liberal society.

3) Despite the fact that Sweden has high rates of nominal affiliation to the Lutheran church, ceremonial and ritual religion seems to be a more common feature of the lives of the Japanese.

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