This file contains aggregate measures from the ARDA’s coding of the 2001, 2003, and 2005 U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Reports. This coding produced data on 196 different countries and territories (see below for list of countries coded), but excluded the United States. It also includes three indexes calculated from these data: Government Regulation of Religion index (GRI), Social Regulation of Religion index (SRI), Government Favoritism of Religion index (GFI) (see Grim and Finke, 2006). Data in this file represent mean coding responses for each variable from all three years of coding.
- Data File
- Cases: 198
Weight Variable: None
- Data Collection
- Date Collected: Summer 2006
- Funded By
- The John Templeton Foundation
- Collection Procedures
- Each year (since 1999) the U.S. State Department releases International Religious Freedom Reports on approximately 196 countries or territories for the years 2001, 2003, and 2005. Based on the text in these reports, ARDA researchers systematically coded the measures included in this file. Under the direction of Brian Grim, the ARDA’s Project Manager for International Data during the coding, these reports were assigned quantitative measures by using a coding instrument, essentially a survey questionnaire. Although the most immediate goal was to develop measures for religious regulation and favoritism, the questions included measures for specific acts of discrimination, prejudice, persecution, warfare, property rights, forced migration, and other acts that might (or might not) be related to the religious life of the country. For all variables, the coders were asked to make substantive observations of the qualitative data and to base their codes on empirical observations of actions or patterns of behavior that were documented in the reports.
Users should be aware of the following limitations: (1) All variables reflect information that was coded from the State Department Reports, and when no problem was reported, then the item was coded as “0”, meaning that “According to the Report, the item was not mentioned as a problem.” Since the reports tend to simply not report a problem rather than say that “the problem is absent,” we are not able to reasonably determine whether the problem was unobserved or absent. This means that the data reflect what was reported. (2) The focus of the reports is on limitations of religious freedom. Thus, we would argue that the most accurate measures are those which address the core issues related to the restriction (or regulation) of religious freedom and religious persecution. For example, government favoritism of religious education could arguably be harmless to religious freedom (helping the poor obtain skills) or harmful (training terrorists based on a religious ideology). Thus, since such issues tend to be reported when there is a problem, they cannot be used to form a full picture of the role of religion in education for a country. (3) The three different years of coding are not three discrete measures, but rather represent trend information that continues to be reported for several years running, which makes sense, for instance, because cases of violence tend to have continuing effects.
Thus, it would not be advisable to treat the data as separate measures from which time lines are developed since it may be possible that later years report newly arising problems in addition to old ones. (4) The aggregate dataset for the three years of coding contains the mean score of each ordinal variable across the three years. We suggest that those using the data for social scientific modeling and analysis use the aggregate data set, which has the benefit of greater variation in the variables and lesser error since random errors from one year will be attenuated in the aggregate data. (5) The data in this file represent mean scores from three years of coding, and, therefore may not fit precisely into category labels due to changes in coding responses over time. Users should use category labels as indicators of a country’s average response. To find the modal response for this data, it is recommended that users refer to the three previous files of data.
For a more detailed description of the coding procedures, see Grim and Finke (2006).
- Sampling Procedures
- Primary data come from the coding of the 195 countries covered by the U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Reports for 2001, 2003, and 2005.
- Principal Investigators
- The Association of Religion Data Archives
Roger Finke, Director
Brian J. Grim, Project Manager for International Data
Brian J. Grim (lead)
Melissa E. Grim
Jaime D. Harris
- Related Publications
- Grim, Brian J. and Roger Finke. 2006. "International Religion Indexes: Government Regulation, Government Favoritism, and Social Regulation of Religion." Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion 2 (Article 1).
Grim, Brian J. and Roger Finke, 2007. “Religious Persecution in Cross-National Context: Clashing Civilizations or Regulated Economies?” American Sociological Review 72:633-658.
Grim, Brian J., Roger Finke, Jaime Harris, Catherine Meyers, and Julie VanEerden. 2006. "Measuring International Socio-Religious Values and Conflict by Coding U.S. State Department Reports," JSM Proceedings, AAPOR-Section on Survey Research Methods [CD-ROM], Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association: 4120 - 4127.
- List of Countries or Territories Included in this Data File:
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Central African Republic
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Republic of the
Papua New Guinea
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Serbia and Montenegro
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates