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Religious Characteristics of States Data Project - Chief Executives' Religions, v. 1.0 (RCS-CER 1.0), INDIVIDUALS ONLY




Brown, D. (2021, September 20). Religious Characteristics of States Data Project - Chief Executives' Religions, v. 1.0 (RCS-CER 1.0), INDIVIDUALS ONLY.


The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset (RCS) was created to fulfill the unmet need for a dataset on the religious dimensions of countries of the world, with the state-year as the unit of observation. The third phase, Chief Executives' Religions, provides data on religious affiliations of countries' 'chief executives,' i.e., their presidents, prime ministers, or other heads of state/government exercising largely real, not ceremonial, political power. The dataset, like others in the RCS data project, is designed expressly for easy merger with datasets of the Correlates of War and Polity projects, datasets by the United Nations, the Religion And State datasets by Jonathan Fox, and the ARDA national profiles.

Data File

Cases: 2911
Variables: 18
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection

Fall 2011 and Fall 2019

Original Survey (Instrument)

RCS Chief Executives, Religions Codebook, v1.0

Funded By

The Albert Gallatin Graduate Research Fellowship, The University of Virginia
The Association of Religion Data Archives

Collection Procedures

Version 1.0 covers all states in the Correlates of War system, plus Northern Cyprus and the Palestinian Authority, from December 31, 2018 back to the date of independence or January 1, 1946, whichever is later.

The Chief Executives' Religions dataset uses the taxonomy and coding of religious denominations that have been established in the Demographics and GRP datasets (reprinted in Appendix A).

This dataset is provided in two formats. In the first (this one), the unit of observation is the state's chief executive. Each line contains data for that individual.

In the second dataset, the unit of observation is the state-year. The dataset provides the religion of which the country's chief executive was affiliated for the most days in the observed calendar year. Most of the time this denotes the religious affiliation of the person in office for the most days during the year, but not always. For example, if one Protestant held office for 180 days but two Catholics held office for 90 and 95 days, respectively, then the reported religion is Catholicism. The dataset also reports the number of days during the calendar year in which the state's chief executive was affiliated with the
reported religion.

The country-year dataset also reports, for each year, the number of individuals who held the office of chief executive during the observed year.

Sampling Procedures

Data were collected in fall 2011, and again in fall 2019. Sources were mainly online. A series of country experts, listed in the acknowledgements, assisted with some individual countries. Because of the nonpermanent nature of Internet source material, sources are not thoroughly documented in this dataset, cf. extensive documentation in other RCS datasets. For example, many sources from the first round of data collection in 2011 are no longer available.

Principal Investigators

Dr. Davis Brown, Nonresident Fellow, Baylor University Institute for Studies of Religion

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