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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Over the past twenty years, there has been a surge in the use of economic theory to understand religion. The earliest work was developed both by economists and sociologists, and interest in applying economic theory to religion remains strong in several disciplines. A welcome by-product of this interdisciplinary interest has been the collection of data addressing questions posed by economic theory. This article reviews various sources of data, including surveys of religious congregations, religion censuses, and the growing number of cross-national collections. Much of the discussion focuses on the free and readily accessible data collections available from the online Association of Religion Data Archives. After reviewing the data sources, the article considers issues related to the use and refinement of the data, focusing in particular on measurement issues, such as the construction of indexes. Finally, it highlights a few online research tools that are readily available for researchers and discusses the potential for developing additional online options for data generation, data refinement, and theory testing.

Keywords: religion, economic theory, online research tools, surveys, religious congregations, religion censuses, Association of Religion

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