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Presented By: Center for Political Studies - Institute for Social Research

Trust in Religious Leaders & Voluntary Compliance: Lessons from Social Distancing during COVID-19 in Central Asia

Center for Political Studies Interdisciplinary Workshops on Politics and Policy

Dark blue background with text "Interdisciplinary Workshops on Politics and Policy" and Center for Political Studies logo. Dark blue background with text "Interdisciplinary Workshops on Politics and Policy" and Center for Political Studies logo.
Dark blue background with text "Interdisciplinary Workshops on Politics and Policy" and Center for Political Studies logo.
Speaker: Pauline Jones (University of Michigan)
Join via Zoom: https://umich.zoom.us/j/92005095888


Abstract:
What is the relationship between trust in religious leaders and voluntary compliance with policies that are costly to the individual? Religious leaders have the moral authority to affect individuals’ willingness to adopt pro-social behaviors across many societies. Less clear is whether that influence will be positive or negative. It cannot be assumed ex ante that religious leaders will uniformly support social distancing guidelines both because they may be reluctant to discourage congregants from attending services and because their leadership within a country is often decentralized. We investigate how trust in religious leaders affects compliance in countries where religious authority is centralized and state aligned. We argue that, under these conditions, greater trust in religious leaders will be associated with more voluntary compliance, but that this effect will be limited to religious celebrations and rituals. Using novel data from surveys fielded in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan during the COVID-19 pandemic, we find support for both hypotheses but only in Kazakhstan, where religious leaders consistently offered adherents substitutes that enabled them to practice their faith while social distancing. The influence of religious leaders on voluntary compliance, therefore, may depend as much on the content of the message as it does on the source.
Dark blue background with text "Interdisciplinary Workshops on Politics and Policy" and Center for Political Studies logo. Dark blue background with text "Interdisciplinary Workshops on Politics and Policy" and Center for Political Studies logo.
Dark blue background with text "Interdisciplinary Workshops on Politics and Policy" and Center for Political Studies logo.

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October 20, 2021 (Wednesday) 12:00pm
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