International Religious Freedom Data, Aggregate File (2001-2005)

Data Archive > International Surveys and Data > Cross-National > Summary


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
Variables: 364
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

Coders
Brian J. Grim (lead)
Melissa E. Grim
Jaime D. Harris
Daniel McKenrick
Catherine Meyers
Laura Tach
Julie VanEerden
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).
http://www.religjournal.com/

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.

Contact for More Information
Brian J. Grim, bgrim@pewforum.org
Notes
List of Countries or Territories Included in this Data File:
Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Andorra
Angola
Argentina
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas, The
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Brunei
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burma (Myanmar)
Burundi
Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
Hong Kong
Macau
Taiwan
China-Tibet
China
Colombia
Comoros
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Republic of the
Costa Rica
Cote d'Ivoire
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
East Timor
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Fiji
Finland
France
Gabon
Gambia, The
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guatemala
Guinea-Bissau
Guinea
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Ireland
Israel
Palestine
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kiribati
Korea, North
Korea, South
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macedonia
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mexico
Micronesia
Moldova
Monaco
Mongolia
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Nauru
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Norway
Oman
Pakistan
Palau
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Romania
Russia
Rwanda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Grenadine
Samoa
San Marino
Sao Tome
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia and Montenegro
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Suriname
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Syria
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Thailand
Togo
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Tuvalu
Uganda
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Western Sahara
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe
Kosovo