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The Religion and State Project, Round 2




Fox, J. (2018, December 11). The Religion and State Project, Round 2.


The Religion and State (RAS) project is a university-based project located at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. Its goal is to create a set of measures that systematically gauge the intersection between government and religion. The RAS dataset measures the extent of government involvement in religion (GIR), or the lack thereof, for 175 states on a yearly basis between 1990 and 2008. This constitutes all countries with populations of 250,000 or more, as well as a sampling of smaller states.

The ARDA has added one additional variables to the original data set to enhance the users' experience on our site.

Data File

Cases: 177
Variables: 3026
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection


Original Survey (Instrument)

RAS Round 2 Codebook

Funded By

The John Templeton Foundation, Israel Science Foundation and The Sara and Simha Lainer Chair in Democracy and Civility

Collection Procedures

For each state, coders would prepare a report based on human rights reports, academic resources, as well as news media sources, primarily taken from the Lexis/Nexis database. Based on this report, the coder filled out the codesheet under the supervision of Jonathan Fox. An additional measure to ensure inter-coder reliability is our policy that every state was recoded by additional coders based on the reports discussed and compared to the original codings. The results of this comparison are available at Jonathan Fox (2011), "Building Composite Measures of Religion and State," Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion 7(8):1-39. For more details see the RAS website.

Sampling Procedures

This project coded all countries which in 2000 had a population of at least 250,000 and Western Democracy countries with lower populations.

Principal Investigators

Jonathan Fox, Bar Ilan University

Related Publications

For a full listing of related publications, see the Religion and State project


Please cite the following when publishing results that use the dataset:

Jonathan Fox (2011), "Building Composite Measures of Religion and State." Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion 7(8):1-39.

Jonathan Fox (2008), A World Survey of Religion and the State, Cambridge University Press.

Jonathan Fox, Religion and State dataset,

Note 1: Official Government Involvement in Religion (GIR) category defintions

Variables SBX1990X through SBX2008 measure official Government Involvement in Religion (GIR). Below are detailed definitions of each of the 15 categories used to describe GIR in these variables:

0 - Specific Hostility: Hostility and overt persecution of religion where state ideology specifically singles out religion in general or religion is in some other way uniquely singled out for persecution (i.e., the ex-U.S.S.R.)
1 - State Controlled Religion, Negative Attitude: The state controls all religious institutions and discourages religious expression outside of those institutions. This is part of the state's policy of maintaining social control or keeping religion in check rather than due to the ideological support for religion.
2 - Nonspecific Hostility: While the state is hostile to religion, this hostility is at about the same level as state hostility to other types of non-state organizations. Religion is not singled out.
3 - Separationist: Official separation of Church and state and the state is slightly hostile toward religion. This includes efforts to remove expression of religion by private citizens from the public sphere.
4 - Accommodation: Official separation of church and state and the state has a benevolent or neutral attitude toward religion in general.
5 - Supportive: The state supports all religions more or less equally.
6 - Cooperation: The state falls short of endorsing a particular religion but certain religions benefit from state support more than others. (Such support can be monetary or legal.)
7 - Multi-Tiered Preferences 2: Two or more religions are clearly preferred by state, receiving the most benefits; there exists one or more tiers of religions which receive less benefits than the preferred religions but more than some other religions.
8 - Multi-Tiered Preferences 1: One religion is clearly preferred by state, receiving the most benefits; there exists one or more tiers of religions which receive less benefits than the preferred religion but more than some other religions.
9 - Preferred Religion: While the state does not officially endorse a religion, one religion serves unofficially as the state's religion receiving unique recognition or benefits. Minority religions all receive similar treatment to each other.
10 - Historical or Cultural State Religion: There is an official religion but it is mostly due to historical or cultural inertia.
11 - Active State Religion: State actively supports religion but the religion is not mandatory and the state does not dominate the official religion's institutions.
12 - State Controlled Religion, Positive Attitude: The state both supports a religion and substantially controls its institutions but has a positive attitude toward this religion.
13 - Religious State 2: Religion mandatory for members of official religion
14 - Religious State 1: Religion mandatory for all

Note 2: Variable Names

Variable names in the original codebook that exceed eight characters in the original codebook are shortened. The original variable name is given in parentheses in the variable's description where applicable.

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