Religiosity, Personal Values, and Social Capital in the Middle East and North African (MENA) Countries

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Beykent Üniversitesi

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The majority of studies on social capital, religion, and personal attitudes have been done on European countries. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, there is a lack of convincing empirical evidence on the impact of religion and personal attitudes on social capital. This study aims to analyze the relationship between characteristics related to religion, individual perspectives, and social capital in 9 MENA countries. Using individual-level data from Round 7 of the World Values Survey, we measure prosocial capital through civic norms and civic activism. Rather than following a single measure of religiosity, as is common in the literature, we consider other measures that encapsulate important notions of religiosity in MENA countries, such as self-defined religiosity and frequency of prayers. Linear regression model was used to determine the effect of religiosity and personal attitudes on civic norms and activism. According to the findings from the regression, social trust is negatively related to civic norms and positively associated with civic activism. While religiosity-related variables in terms of self-defined religiosity and frequency of prayers have a positive effect on civic norms, they have negative effects on civic activism. In addition, a negative relationship was found between accepting the authority of the state and civic activism and civic norm. These results show that individuals in MENA countries have low levels of civic activism but exhibit high levels of civic morals.


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Social Capital, Religiosity, Civic Norms, Middle East and North Africa, Civic Activism


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