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The Religion and State Project, Main Dataset and Societal Module, Round 3




Fox, J. (2019, February 10). The Religion and State Project, Main Dataset and Societal Module, 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.

This version also includes the RAS3 Societal Module. Unlike the main RAS dataset, the Societal Module focuses on actions taken by societal actors. It primarily measures societal discrimination and attitudes toward minority religions. This version uses the country as the unit of analysis and covers 1990 to 2014.

Data File

Cases: 183
Variables: 5569
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection


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,

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