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The Religion and State Project, Round 3




Fox, J. (2019, February 10). The Religion and State Project, Round 3.


The Religion and State (RAS) project is a university-based project located at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. The general goal is to provide detailed codings on several aspects of separation of religion and state for 183 states on a yearly basis between 1990 and 2014. This constitutes all countries with populations of 250,000 or more, as well as a sampling of countries with lower populations.

Data File

Cases: 183
Variables: 4327
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection


Original Survey (Instrument)

RAS Round 3 Codebook

Funded By

The John Templeton Foundation, Israel Science Foundation, The Sara and Simha Lainer Chair in Democracy and Civility, The Yehuda Avner Chair of Religion and Politics, and the German-Israel Foundation

Collection Procedures

In general, for each state, the coder would prepare a report on the state 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 myself. This is in order to assure coder reliability. That is, one of my roles as project director has been to make sure that different coders used the same methodology and criteria when filling out the codesheets. An additional measure to ensure inter-coder reliability is our policy that about one in every four states were recoded by additional coders based on the reports discussed above and compared to the original codings.

It is important to emphasize that the main RAS codings focus on the relationship between religion and the state apparatus. For a variable to be coded, there must either be a law or a consistent government practice. In cases where the two contradict, consistent government practice was coded. These codings also represent the practice of the federal or national governments of states, and not practices by local governments. However, if a majority of local or regional governments engage in a practice it is also coded.

Sampling Procedures

This project coded all countries which have a population of at least 250,000 as well as a sampling of 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:

Fox, Jonathan, "A World Survey of Secular-Religious Competition: State Religion policy from 1990 to 2014" Religion, State & Society, 47 (1), 2019, 10-29.

Fox, Jonathan, Roger Finke and Dane R. Mataic. 2018, "New Data and Measures on Societal Discrimination and Religious Minorities." Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion Volume 2, Article 14.

Fox, Jonathan (2016), The Unfree Exercise of Religion: A World Survey of Religious Discrimination against Religious Minorities, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Jonathan Fox (2015), Political Secularism Religion and the State: A Time Survey Analysis of Worldwide Data, Cambridge University Press.

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

Jonathan Fox, Religion and State dataset,

Note 1: Official Government Support category defintions

Variables SBX1990X through SBX2008 measure official Government Support. Below are detailed definitions of each of the 14 categories used to describe Official Support 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 USSR).
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 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 - Accomodation: 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 - Muti-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 - Active State Religion: State actively supports religion but the religion is not mandatory and the state does not dominate the official religion's institutions.
11 - State Controlled Religion, Positive Attitude: The state both supports a religion and substantially controls its institutions but has a positive attitude toward this religion.
12 - Religious State 2: Religion mandatory for members of official religion.
13 - 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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