Kevin Lewis

July 07, 2019

Religiosity and Perception About Compatibility of Democracy With Islam: Evidence From the Arab World
Omar Farooq & Khondker Aktaruzzaman
International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Summer 2019, Pages 266-282

Using the data from Arab countries, this article shows that the odds of considering democracy to be consistent with Islam are higher for more religious respondents than that for less religious respondents. This article also shows that this result may be driven by two characteristics of religiosity: frequently reading the Holy Quran (the source of religion) and regularly praying. Our results show that the odds of considering democracy to be consistent with Islam are higher for respondents that read the Holy Quran frequently and for respondents that pray frequently. Our results also show that respondents with high trust in religious leadership or high preference for religious political parties do not show a negative attitude toward democracy.

Natural, But Not Supernatural, Literal Immortality Affirmation Attenuates Mortality Salience Effects on Worldview Defense in Atheists
Kenneth Vail et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

The present research explored whether atheists managing death awareness would be effectively buffered by affirmations of supernatural and/or natural literal immortality. Prior data were reanalyzed, revealing ambiguous results, so further experiments were conducted. In Study 1 (n = 382), atheists were randomly assigned to a supernatural afterlife-confirmed (vs. afterlife-disconfirmed) prime, an MS (vs. control topic) prime, and then given an opportunity to engage in secular worldview defense. In Study 2 (n = 360), atheists were randomly assigned to supernatural (afterlife) versus natural (medical indefinite life extension; MILE) immortality prime, an MS (vs. control topic) prime, and then given an opportunity to engage in secular worldview defense. Atheists managing death awareness increased worldview defense in the supernatural/afterlife conditions but that effect was eliminated in the MILE condition. These findings are consistent with the terror management theory perspective on worldview defense. Implications for theory and research are discussed.

The link between religiousness and prejudice: Testing competing explanations in an adolescent sample
James Shepperd et al.
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, forthcoming

Research links intrinsic religiousness to less prejudice toward Black people and greater prejudice toward gay people. We examined longitudinally in a sample of 865 adolescents three variables that might serve as a mediator of attitudes toward Black people yet produce a suppression effect in attitudes toward gay people: (a) humanitarian values, (b) favorable evaluations of social groups, and (c) socially desirable responding. In light of evidence that Black people on average are more religious than are White people, we also examined whether self-identifying as Black helped explain racial prejudice. Our mediation analyses provided strong evidence that humanitarian values and the tendency to view all social groups favorably accounted for the relationship between intrinsic religiousness and positive attitudes toward Black people. We found no support that socially desirable responding or identifying as Black accounted for our effects. Consistent with a suppression effect, controlling statistically for the agreeable aspects of religiousness strengthened the relationship between intrinsic religiousness and prejudice toward gay people. These findings illustrate mechanisms through which intrinsic religiousness can correspond both positively and negatively with attitudes toward marginalized groups.

Render Unto Caesar: Taxes, Charity, and Political Islam
Maleke Fourati, Gabriele Gratton & Pauline Grosjean
European Economic Review, forthcoming

Using an original, nationally representative survey of 600 Tunisians, we show that support for the Islamic party in the first post-Arab Spring election came from wealthier districts and individuals. We demonstrate that standard public finance arguments explain this voting pattern better than other available explanations. Our model predicts that a voter's probability of voting for a religious party: (i) increases with income for the poorest voters, but possibly decreases with income for the richest; (ii) is greater for voters in richer districts; and (iii) increases with the voter's religiosity. Our empirical results align with our predictions and suggest that individual and district wealth were key drivers of support for the Islamic party. We test for other possible factors affecting voting, such as economic disgruntlement, migration, access to media, or attitudes towards gender parity or towards the West. Finally, we document similar patterns in other key elections in the Muslim world.

Tone at the Top: CEOs' Religious Beliefs and Earnings Management
Ye Cai et al.
Journal of Banking & Finance, September 2019, Pages 195-213

Diverging from recent research that focuses on the effect of community religion on corporate outcomes, we study how top executives' personal religiosity affects corporate transparency. Using educational experience in church-affiliated colleges as a proxy for CEOs' religiosity, we show that firms with religious CEOs are associated with significantly less earnings management than firms with non-religious CEOs. Our results are robust to using matched samples and a difference-in-differences analysis based on voluntary CEO turnovers. The effect of CEO religiosity on earnings management is more pronounced when firms use more equity-based CEO compensation or when firms face higher operating cash flows volatility, and the effect is weaker in the post-SOX period. We also find evidence that firms with religious CEOs are less likely to engage in real earnings management. Taken together, our findings suggest an important role of CEOs' religious beliefs in shaping corporate policies.

Do Religious Norms Influence Corporate Debt Financing?
Jay Cai & Guifeng Shi
Journal of Business Ethics, June 2019, Pages 159-182

Previous studies substantiate that religious social norms influence individual and organizational decisions. Using debt financing settings, we examine whether a firm's religious environment influences outside parties' perceptions in contracting with the firm. We document that firms located in the more religious areas use less debt financing and receive better credit ratings. Bond investors require lower yields and impose fewer covenants on such firms. Using the 2002 revelation of sex abuse by Catholic priests as an exogenous shock, we verify that these findings are not driven by endogeneity issues. Our study highlights the role of social norms in financial transactions.

Investigating Stereotypes Towards the Outgroup: The Role of Religious Concepts and Group Membership
Lipaz Shamoa-Nir & Irene Razpurker-Apfeld
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, May 2019, Pages 188-200

We examined the effects of exposure to religious concepts on stereotypes of two unique groups in Israel - Arab Muslims and Arab Christians. In Study 1, Muslim persons exposed to Jewish concepts and Christian persons exposed to Christian concepts showed increased negative stereotypes toward Jews. The findings were replicated in Study 2, additionally showing that identification with the religious ingroup has a moderating effect, which either increases or reduces stereotypes following exposure to outgroup concepts. In Study 3, a control condition was run, confirming that the religious priming effects were due to an increase in negative stereotypes. Thus, the paradox of religion may be partially accounted for by group distinctiveness, exposure to specific religious content, group membership, and identification with the ingroup.

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