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Is the secularization hypothesis valid? A panel data assessment for Taiwan

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The secularization thesis is based on the idea that a country becomes more secular as it becomes richer and more industrialized. In order to investigate whether this hypothesis is valid, we examine the relationship between religion in Taiwan and economic development across 23 counties by adopting the panel data approach for the period 1998 to 2003. We select six religious activity proxy variables and five economic development variables in a cross-county panel data framework. The evidence indicates that the ratio of females to males has a significantly positive effect and that the literacy rate and population density each have a significantly negative effect on the religious variables. Finally, except for the Christian culture, the unemployment rate has a positive effect on the religious variables. Our findings thus support the view that the religious secularization hypothesis is valid in Taiwan.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Marketing Management, Shih Chien University Kaohsiung Campus, Kaohsiung, Taiwan 2: Department of Finance, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan 3: Institute of China and Asia-Pacific Studies, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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