Archive for the 'Culture, Values and Attitudes' Category

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Mapping the Global Muslim Population

Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Muslim Population
By The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 1.57 billion Muslims of all ages living in the world today, representing 23% of an estimated 2009 world population of 6.8 billion.
While Muslims are found on all five inhabited continents, more than 60% of the global Muslim population is in Asia and about 20% is in the Middle East and North Africa. However, the Middle East-North Africa region has the highest percentage of Muslim-majority countries. Indeed, more than half of the 20 countries and territories in that region have populations that are approximately 95% Muslim or greater.
Full report (PDF)

Do Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws Affect Criminal Behavior?

Do Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws Affect Criminal Behavior?
By: J.J. Prescott (with Jonah E. Rockoff)
Population Studies Center Brown Bag Seminar, October 12, 2009

In recent decades, sex offenders have been the targets of some of the most far-reaching and novel crime legislation in the U.S. Two key innovations have been registration and notification laws which, respectively, require that convicted sex offenders provide valid contact information to law enforcement authorities, and that information on sex offenders be made public. Using detailed information on the timing and scope of changes in state law, we study how registration and notification affect the frequency of sex offenses and the incidence of offenses across victims, and we check for any change in police response to reported crimes. We find evidence that registration reduces the frequency of sex offenses by providing law enforcement with information on local sex offenders. As we predict from a simple model of criminal behavior, this decrease in crime is concentrated among “local” victims (e.g., friends, acquaintances, neighbors), while there is little evidence of a decrease in crimes against strangers. We also find evidence that community notification deters crime, but in a way unanticipated by legislators. Our results suggest that community notification deters first-time sex offenders, but may increase recidivism by registered offenders by increasing the relative attractiveness of criminal behavior. This finding is consistent with work by criminologists showing that notification may contribute to recidivism by imposing social and financial costs on registered sex offenders and, as a result, making non-criminal activity relatively less attractive. We regard this latter finding as potentially important, given that the purpose of community notification is the reduction of recidivism.

NBER Working Paper (PDF)

Why Do People Give? The Role of Identity in Giving

Why Do People Give? The Role of Identity in Giving
By: Jennifer L. Aaker; Satoshi Akutsu
Source: Stanford Graduate School of Business Research Papers

Why do people give to others? One principal driver involves one’s identity: who one is and how they view themselves. The degree to which identities are malleable, involve a readiness to act, and help make sense of the world have significant implications determining whether and how much people give. Drawing on the Identity-Based Motivation model (IBM; Oyserman, 2009), we provide a tripartite framework to help advance the research on the psychology of giving.

Full text (PDF)

Is Personal Insecurity a Cause of Cross-National Differences in the Intensity of Religious Belief?

Is Personal Insecurity a Cause of Cross-National Differences in the Intensity of Religious Belief? An Interchange between Psychology and Religion
By: Tomas James Rees
Source: Journal of Religion and Society

The cause of cross-national differences in individual-level religiosity has a rich history of scholarly debate rooted in observations of an apparent decline in religiosity in the modern era. Numerous causal factors have been proposed. A prominent strand of thought, originally formulated by Weber, supposes that greater education, along with the free and open transmission and discussion of ideas, undermines superstitious or non-naturalistic thinking. Empirical support for this includes the observation that national-level religiosity and scientific productivity are inversely correlated (Jaffe). Another strand, rooted in the work of Durkheim, suggests that the displacement of religious social institutions by secular ones leads to the gradual loss of importance of religious ideas. Complicating the debate are the multitudinous definitions of the term “secularization,” which has come to refer variously to a decline in religious participation or a decline in individual piety.

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Full text (PDF)

American Religious Identification Survey 2008

American Religious Identification Survey 2008
Principal Investigators: Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar
Source: The Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC), Trinity College
From press release:

Conducted between February and November of last year, ARIS 2008 is the third in a landmark series of large, nationally representative surveys of U.S. adults in the 48 contiguous states conducted by Kosmin and Ariela Keysar. Employing the same research methodology as the 1990 and 2001 surveys, ARIS 2008 questioned 54,461 adults in either English or Spanish. With a margin of error of less than 0.5 percent, it provides the only complete portrait of how contemporary Americans identify themselves religiously, and how that self-identification has changed over the past generation.

Download sections or full report (PDF)

Americans Believe Religious Values Are ‘Under Attack’

American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood
Source: Anti-Defamation League
A majority of the American people believes that religious values are “under attack,” and that the people who run the television networks and major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans, according to a survey from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued today.
American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood, a national poll of 1,000 American adults conducted in October 2008 by The Marttila Communications Group, found that 61% of the American people continue to believe that religious values in this country are “under attack.” The poll also found that 59% of Americans agree that “the people who run the TV networks and the major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans.”
Press Release; Poll Results (PDF)

Poll: Concerns About Racial Tensions Decline Sharply In America

American Attitudes on Immigration and Diversity
Source: Anti-Defamation League

There has been a steep decline in concerns about racial tensions in America over the past 15 years, according to a newly released poll from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The poll also found a significant majority — 66% — views the growth of America’s minority populations as advantageous to the economy and society.

American Attitudes on Immigration and Diversity, a national poll of 1,000 American adults conducted on October 26, 2008 by the Marttila Communications Group, found that only one-third of the American people believes that racial tensions are increasing in this country. That is a substantial decline from 1992, when three-quarters of the American people expressed the same sentiment.

The poll also found that 66% of Americans view the country’s population growth due to immigration as “an advantage for America.” The poll was released during the League’s 2008 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

Press Release; Full Results (PDF)

American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood

American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood
Source: Anti-Defamation League
A majority of the American people believes that religious values are “under attack,” and that the people who run the television networks and major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans, according to a survey from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued today.
The survey was conducted by the Marttila Communications Group, a Boston-based public opinion research firm that has conducted numerous national surveys for ADL measuring American attitudes on a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3.09 percent. For many questions, the survey used the technique of split sampling,” a process in which the 1,000 sample was split into two demographically representative national samples of 500 respondents each. The margin of error for questions answered by 500 respondents is +/- 4.38 percent.
Press Release; Poll (PDF)

Inside Obama

Inside Obama’s Sweeping Victory
Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Barack Obama captured the White House on the strength of a substantial electoral shift toward the Democratic Party and by winning a number of key groups in the middle of the electorate. Overall, 39% of voters were Democrats while 32% were Republicans — a dramatic shift from 2004 when the electorate was evenly divided. The Democratic advantage in Election Day party identification was significantly larger than in either of Bill Clinton’s victories.

Childrearing, Family Formation and Voting

The Big Sort, a blog by Bill Bishop on Slate.com, had a posting on Tuesday about the predictive nature of childrearing practices, family formation attitude and voting practices.
Spank Your Kids? You Likely Vote Republican