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Religious Capital

Familiarity with a religion’s doctrines, rituals, traditions, and members (Iannaccone 1990:299).

The degree of mastery of and attachment to a particular religious culture (Stark and Finke 2000:120). 

A common practice for measuring religious human capital is to find out if individuals have been a part of a particular religion for a long period of time. This can be operationalized through respondents’ self-reported religiosity at age 12, their parent’s religious tradition, or their attendance levels at age 12. Presumably, those in the same religious tradition (found by comparing parent’s and respondent’s religious tradition), those who are highly religious or attended at high levels since childhood enjoy a greater amount of religious human capital compared to those who do not. Another possible operationalization of religious human capital is religious intermarriage. Stark and Finke (2000) and Iannaccone (1990) suggest that those with less religious human capital are more likely to religiously intermarry compared to those with more religious human capital. Church attendance and church contributions also provide a look into a person’s possible level of religious human capital.

Citations:

Iannaccone, Laurence R. 1990. “Religious Practice: A Human Capital Approach.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 29:297-314.

Stark, Rodney and Roger Finke. 2000. Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion. Berkeley: University of California Press.

The following are possible measures of Religious Capital that can be created using data from theARDA.com
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This asks respondents what religious tradition their parents ascribe to and allows researchers to investigate why individuals maintain or change from the religious tradition they were exposed to when younger. View related items in the Measurement Wizard:
    Examples  
Several files in theARDA's Data Archive have examples of this Measure.
Q31A - 2005 Baylor Religion Survey
MaRelig - 1988 General Social Survey PaRelig - 1988 General Social Survey Moms Relig - 1998 General Social Survey Pops Relig - 1998 General Social Survey PRelign - 2003 National Study of Youth and Religion (Wave 1) Search the ARDA for similar measures.
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This measures how frequently respondents attend places of worship.  It is debatable how much measurement error is present in self-reported attendance, as people tend to over-estimate their participation (see Hadaway et al. 1993; Hout and Greeley 1998; Pressler and Stinson 1998; Smith 1998). View related items in the Measurement Wizard:
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A question that asks respondents what religion, if any, their spouse ascribes to. This variable allows researchers to investigate how religious capital affects spouse choice, as well as how network religious preferences affect individuals.  This variable also potentially allows researchers to approximate which religious traditions are more exclusive with regard to endogamy. View related items in the Measurement Wizard:
    Examples  
Several files in theARDA's Data Archive have examples of this Measure.
MATE RELIG - 2004 General Social Survey SPREL - 2006 General Social Survey SPREL - 1990 General Social Survey PSPFAITH - 2003 National Study of Youth and Religion (Wave 1) Q31C - 2005 Baylor Religion Survey
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This measures how often someone reads sacred texts such as the Bible, Koran, sutras etc. View related items in the Measurement Wizard:
    Examples  
Several files in theARDA's Data Archive have examples of this Measure.
Q15 - 2005 Baylor Religion Survey
Bible Read - 2000 National Election Survey
ReadWord  - 1998 General Social Survey
ReadBibl - 2000 Religion and Politics Survey
Bible5 - 1995 Project Canada
RelCon6 - America's Evangelicals
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These variables measure how much a respondent gives to his or her religious congregation or organization. View related items in the Measurement Wizard:
    Examples  
Several files in the ARDA's Data Archive have examples of this Measure.
Q11 - 2005 Baylor Religion Survey CHURGIVE - 1994 Catholics in Indiana: A Social and Religious Profile GIVEN - 2003 National Study of Youth and Religion (similar measures available on other waves) CH_CONTR - 2000 National Election Study (similar measures available on other waves) See the 1993 American Congregational Giving Study For giving at the congregational level see the National Congregations Study. Search the ARDA for similar measures.
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