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The conclusions of the study reveal that, in the short term, Christian mercy is reversing the effectiveness of social programs by confirming Nietzsche's criticisms of Christianity


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Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020): 121-141.

ISSN: 1583-0039 © SACRI











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Abstract: The social policies effectiveness as a component of government revenue redistribution policies is an essential element of modern capitalist society. In history, social assistance has sometimes been exerted by the church, being a derivative of a profound human feeling - Christian mercy. The evolution of society and the integration of social assistance as a public policy presupposes a high dose of pragmatism, derived also from the managerial internal control standards. The study aims to analyze the relationship that might exist between Christian mercy and the effectiveness of social assistance programs.

The research is based on a descriptive analysis that consists of a comparison of the bee behavior and a quantitative evaluation that uses correlation analysis, artificial intelligence techniques and fuzzy logic. The results of the paper confirm the reverse dependency of the social assistance effectiveness policies on income inequality and on the poverty degree.

The conclusions of the study reveal that, in the short term, Christian mercy is reversing the effectiveness of social programs by confirming Nietzsche's criticisms of Christianity. In the long run, the return to the faith values prevails over the efficiency targets that seem to have a more and more ephemeral character in the contemporary world. This reaction of approaching religion is considered by the authors as the need for emotional support that people feel in the early stages of the development of capitalist societies. Later, in the second stage described by Kuznets' U-curve, people become aware of the capital's capacity to be altruistic and of the increased role of social responsibility. Therefore the need for support decreases.

Key words: income redistribution, social assistance, behavioral finance, social respon- sability, income inequality, religion, social policy, redistribution, welfare state.

Cosmin Serbanescu

National Institute of Internal Control, Bucharest, Romania Email: [email protected]

Adrian Vintilescu

National Institute of Internal Control, Bucharest, Romania Email: [email protected]


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 122

1. Introduction

The Church has played an important role in serving both the spiritual and the physical needs of the poor. Since ancient times, the churches have set up hospitals, schools, houses for unmarried mothers and charitable societies. The social government programs has led the church to move away from many of its crucial roles in poverty alleviation. This phenomenon may be a component of what some economists call the deterrent effect of private spending on government spending ("the exclusion effect"), which is the subject of the state aid issues. The views are different on the desirability of granting poverty aid as part of the public revenues redistribution. We can mention that many electoral campaigns make this topic a nodal point.

We also have to note that states and communities are addressing differently the social welfare management policies. For example, some countries grant them in kind, others in cash (Sen 1976, 219-231).

A similar system of transfers also exists in the bee communities, methodically organized in hives, where it can be observed a similar honey redistribution process between productive bees and male bees. At the same time, the bees organization is exemplary, as well as the prompt information analysis. Therefore, in developing a qualitative analysis, the authors considered their behavior as a guide in addressing the effectiveness of the social policies on Christian mercy.

The hypothesis from which the present study starts is that the bee's reaction only considers efficiency (there is no divine spirit of the bees).

This starting point is especially important because if bees can achieve organizational efficiency in fulfilling goals, for humans, in addition, there is an essential feeling - mercy - given by the existence of religion.

A primary feature of religion is Christian mercy. However there are some criticisms (Nietzsche 1976) about mercy and its role in the effective development of a society. Faith teaches us that the deeds of mercy are both fleshy (to satisfy the hungry one, to give drink to the thirsty, to dress the naked, to welcome a guest in your house, to cure the sick, to search the one in the prison, to bury the dead), but also for the soul (to direct the sinners, to teach the uninformed, to advise the doubtful, to comfort those who are sorrowful, to patiently endure injustice, to forgive those who have wronged you, to pray for the living and for the dead).

When we practice the facts of body and soul mercy, we do nothing but fulfill the words of the Holy Apostle Paul, who says, "Do your duties one to another, and so you will accomplish the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2), and in another verse: "... serve one another by love. For all the law is contained in one word: love your neighbor as yourself " (Galatians 5:13- 14).


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 123 Religious critics, like Nietzsche, say that mercy acts depressively.

Man is losing power when he is compassionate. The philosopher believes that mercy opposes the very law of evolution itself, which is that of natural selection (also based on efficiency). Natural selection in the case of human communities can mean, in practice, the choice of the future road on the basis of what proved to be best in the past in terms of maintaining a good standard of living for the population (see the welfare state). As outlined above, states build social welfare programs to help disadvantaged classes. At the same time states need to consider increasing the operational efficiency and effectiveness (Alkire and Foster 2008).

Regarding the sustainable economic growth or maintaining the efficiency over a long period of time, the economic cycle theories confirm that this can not be continued. Poplars do not grow up to the sky.

Economists like Nikolai Kondratiev (Korotayev and Tsirel 2010, 3-57) pointed out that the economic cycles are inherent in the development of a capitalist economy. Marx (Wayne, Michael 2012), Pickety (2014), or Roubini (2010) have exposed, in general, a cause that stimulates crises and why capitalism regularly fails - human greed. The trend of the economic growth, improvement or even performance maintenance and the assurance of a welfare state are not, at all times, two convergent notions.

Recently, King Willem-Alexander sent a message to the Dutch people from the government that "the welfare state of the twentieth century has disappeared" (Independent Newspaper, 2013). Instead, the monarch believes there "will be a participatory society in which people have to take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety net, with less help from the national government"

(Independent Newspaper, 2013). We can assume that this statement also leads to the need for a secular and pragmatic approach.

Many social welfare specialists, such as Arup Banerji (2012), Regional Director for the European Union at the World Bank, considers that the social protection system must be appropriate and specific. Specifically, it means the development regime, both economic and, above all, social.

If we return to the work of a beehive, we can assume that in this case there is a honey transfer process (redistribution) between productive bees and male bees similar to some social assistance policies. The male bees are practically maintained by bees (those who really work) for a while and provide them with nectar and pollen. When the summer is over and the honey is less and less in the hives, the working bees stop feeding the male bees and isolate them in the hive's corners or drive them out of the hive.

In the bee families there are also exceptions to the rule, which make the redistribution policy of the hive to have a specific character. For example, if the colony has an old mat (specific aspect), the working bees accept hibernating with the male bees. Obviously, the particular aspects do not refer to bees mercy.

At the same time, it has been noticed that the total absence of the


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 124 male bees makes the working bees become more anxious and less productive. When the working bees destroy the honeycomb cells to create honeycomb cells for the male bees, it means that the colony faces an important imbalance that affects its development, productivity, vitality and immunity. Manifestations of concern for income redistribution are also found in the bee families in the sense that the strong ones take care of the weak ones to ensure their own happiness, thus developing the income redistribution processes.

In the economy, there are optimal revenue redistribution models derived from optimal taxation models: Akerlof (1987), Mirrlees (Diamond and Mirrlees 1971), Ramsey (1927), which use utility functions. The design of a social security system corresponds to an optimal redistribution policy and it is based on the increase of the global utility function at the entire society's level.

The social security systems ensure income redistribution through different payment channels and use distinct identification methodologies for groups of people in need (provided in normative acts). For example, social aid when helping the poor or the needy or state allowance when helping the children, which are specific to the social administration processes.

Regarding the inclusion of persons in need of social assistance in the modern states in aid classes, tagging is used by defining eligibility criteria in order to strictly quantify certain facts (Bourguignon and Chakravarty 2003, 25-49).

Taking the example of quantifying poverty policies, the World Bank studies state that it is difficult to find certain patterns and labels and that poverty is a complex phenomenon. This is very eloquently highlighted by the claim of a Kenyan man in a high-poverty state: "Do not ask me what poverty means because you have met it outside my house. Look at the house and count the holes. Look at my utensils and the clothes I wear. Look at everything and write what you see. What you see is poverty" (The World Bank 2001, 16).

Besides the fact that the policy of labeling people in disadvantaged groups is difficult to achieve, it is noticed that determining the efficiency of a transfer policy is even more complicated if we consider other social, emotional or psychological factors. When it comes to determining the efficiency of a specific aggregate transfer for different social groups (e.g for the disabled, the elderly etc.), it is much harder to quantify what a good social policy is (Bossert et al. 2009).

In any case, an important element that intervenes in the set of factors influencing social policies is Christian mercy. This is the reason why the religion and the effectiveness of social protection in the welfare state are the subject of this paper. Similar research studies are found in the scientific work of some authors such as Barker (1984), Manow (2004, 2006), Tawney (1922), Weber (1950), who have performed exceptional qualitative analyzes on this subject.


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 125

2. Data sources and the model

From the multitude of measurement systems (Antony and Rao 2007, 578-587) in order to achieve the objective of observing the influence of Christian mercy on the efficiency of social assistance programs, the authors considered a compact large volume database, the Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI), which can reveal multiple comparison possibilities, including social and economic policy.

SGI is in itself a comparative transnational study aimed at identifying and promoting successful factors in developing an effective policy and analyzing how governments are targeting sustainable development. SGI helps a variety of OECD and EU stakeholders to analyze governments in terms of specific indicators. SGI examines how well the policies have been designed to achieve the objectives, analyzing the results in 16 public policies areas and over 200 indicators as outlined in Annex 1.

In order to conduct the study, the authors first took the data from the SGI website, respectively the annual indicators for the period 2014-2017 for the 41 states (Annex 2). From these indicators, the authors chose as an output variable an aggregate indicator that quantifies the social assistance, e.g the social policy indicator. In fact, according to the site authors, the indicator answers the question: Does social policy facilitate a fair and just society? The indicator is aggregated and represents an average of several indicators.

For a global presentation of the indicators system used, we mention that Romania is at the international level on the 39th position regarding the social policies with a 4.4 social policy score.

Figure 1. Aggregated indicators for Romania

Source: SGI Network.


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 126 The website's authors motivate Romania's social policy score, among other things, that the education system suffers from low public spending, high dropout rates, low tertiary performance, poor labor market relevance, and the fact that poverty rates are very high, especially among Roma.

Analyzing only the data collected from SGI, it was not possible to examine the relationship between the efficiency of social assistance in relation to Christian mercy and it is necessary to aggregate another dataset to cover this issue. For this reason, the authors identified another data source reflecting certain characteristics related to religion and contained in the 2010 Eurobarometer on Spirituality in the EU. The publication presents a comparative study of various states that characterize the population's faith either in a spirit or in a religious entity.

The results are presented graphically below:

Figure 2. Eurobarometer on spirituality within the EU - 2010

Country Atheist

A spirit /

A force God

Bulgaria 15 43 36

Croatia 7 22 69

Cyprus 3 8 88

Czech Republic 37 44 16

Denmark 24 47 28

Estonia 29 50 18

Finland 22 42 33

France 40 27 27

Germany 27 25 44

Greece 4 16 79

Hungary 20 34 45

Iceland 18 49 31

Ireland 7 20 70

Italy 6 20 74

Latvia 11 48 38

Lithuania 12 37 47

Luxembourg 24 22 46

Malta 2 4 94

Netherlands 30 39 28

Norway 29 44 22

Poland 5 14 79

Portugal 12 15 70

Romania 1 7 92

Slovakia 13 23 63

Sweden 34 45 18

Switzerland 11 39 44

T urkey 1 1 94

Austria 12 38 44

Belgium 27 31 37

Source: Q Magazine.


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 127 The authors combined both sets of data into a single table that includes the existing indicators in the SGI database for 2014 and the ones in the Figure 2 above. Concatenation of the data was possible only for the countries that were in the two databases. Another limitation of the study is the observation that the oldest database of SGI is from 2014 and the database of religion is from 2010.

Therefore, the authors had to carry out the research under the as- sumption that the data did not have a high dynamics. Obviously, an exten- sive analysis for panel data allows for other specific developments that will be subject to future studies (spatial data mining, pool time series etc.).

On the basis of the data used it was performed a correlation analysis between all the data characterizing the economic condition, included in the SGI indicators and data on religious beliefs. The correlation analysis is fully presented in Annex 3 for the indicators concerning the religion.

Correlation coefficients closer to 1 or to -1 indicate higher correlations (direct or inverse).

The table below shows the data for pairs of indicators (religion- specific and other SGI indicators) for which a correlation coefficient is recorded in the mode close to 1. The data is displayed on a scale from red (highest) to green (the smallest value) for each indicator.

Table 1. The database


Atheist A spirit God Social Policies

Social Inclusion

Poverty Rate

Gini Coeff.

Child Poverty

Global Inequali ties

Bulgaria 15 43 36 4.34 3.82 3.72 4.18 2.93 2.54

Croatia 7 22 69 4.91 4.22 4.14 5.07 4.82 2.43

Cyprus 3 8 88 5.43 5.63 6.67 5.04 7.61 3.04

Czech Republic 37 44 16 6.19 6.18 7.88 7.06 7.52 4.59

Denmark 24 47 28 7.73 7.69 7.26 6.53 8.02 9.50

Estonia 29 50 18 6.70 5.44 5.47 4.54 6.58 5.70

Finland 22 42 33 7.65 7.66 7.51 6.72 8.59 7.41

France 40 27 27 6.52 6.50 7.13 5.20 7.24 6.21

Germany 27 25 44 6.74 6.84 6.01 5.93 7.55 6.05

Greece 4 16 79 4.21 3.19 3.35 3.94 3.53 2.54

Hungary 20 34 45 4.60 4.76 6.51 6.29 5.51 2.54

Iceland 18 49 31 7.33 7.38 8.00 7.35 8.12 4.74

Ireland 7 20 70 6.52 6.05 5.97 5.20 6.76 6.98

Italy 6 20 74 5.27 4.28 4.85 4.57 4.41 3.42

Latvia 11 48 38 5.21 4.67 4.39 3.48 4.19 2.43

Lithuania 12 37 47 6.19 5.49 5.30 4.71 5.45 4.59

Luxembourg 24 22 46 7.22 7.79 7.05 6.03 6.80 9.50

Malta 2 4 94 5.09 5.97 6.92 6.33 6.83 3.08

Netherlands 30 39 28 7.23 7.75 7.84 6.89 8.05 7.11

Norway 29 44 22 7.70 8.40 7.71 7.85 8.77 9.00

Poland 5 14 79 5.89 6.03 5.64 5.07 5.92 4.04

Portugal 12 15 70 5.36 4.86 5.26 3.88 4.91 4.24

Romania 1 7 92 4.44 3.81 3.14 4.04 1.93 2.88

Slovakia 13 23 63 5.27 5.25 6.76 6.92 5.73 3.99

Sweden 34 45 18 7.79 8.23 6.76 7.09 7.11 9.50

Switzerland 11 39 44 6.93 7.33 6.01 5.76 6.86 5.98

T urkey 1 1 94 4.53 3.70 2.89 1.13 2.12 5.16

Austria 12 38 44 6.11 6.94 6.51 6.16 7.33 4.46

Belgium 27 31 37 6.42 6.79 6.55 6.53 6.86 5.43

Source: authors own research results.


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 128 The analysis of the data in the above table was first performed on the basis of a scatter chart containing unified regression analysis elements between each of the religion-specific indicators and the social policy indicator. This type of analysis aims, in fact, to address the objective of the study, namely the answer to the question: What type of link is established between the effectiveness of social policies towards Christian mercy?

The first graph expresses the direct dependence between the social policy indicator and the percentage in which a country's population finds it inclined to believe in a divine spirit or force. The regression is not very significant from the model's point of view, the coefficient of deter- mination being low (0.378).

Figure 3. Dependence between the effectiveness of social policies and belief in a divine spirit or force

Source: authors own research results.

Based on the data from the graph we can notice that the Nordic countries, the Czech Republic, Estonia, have a high efficiency of social policies, as they have a high faith in a divine spirit or force.

From the analysis of the chart below, another conclusion is drawn, namely that the effectiveness of social policies is rather achieved among the countries where the percentage of atheism is higher. The conclusion of the quantitative analysis also presents a high degree of error due to the low regression determination coefficient (0.3378).


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 129 Figure 4. Dependence between social policy effectiveness and atheistic proportion

Source: authors own researh results.

The graph below outlines a straight line of regression between the efficiency of the social policies and the belief in God, which is charac- terized by a higher determinant (0.4694), but still reduced, to give accurate quantitative conclusions. Thus, we can rather state, with a very large margin of error, that faith in God characterizes the states that do not have well-rated social policies such as Greece, Turkey, Romania, Malta.

Figure 5. Dependence between the efficiency of social policies and faith in God

Source: authors own research results.

In the desire to use other analysis tools to formulate an opinion, the authors used the fuzzy rules technique which is a key tool for expressing knowledge elements in "fuzzy logic" (Han et al. 2012). The bees have an exceptional ability to analyze the sounds of other bees. People are also on the verge of a new industrial revolution based on artificial intelligence techniques to recognize and analyze certain patterns (data mining).


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 130 The Generic Rules Generation (GRI) node as a data mining procedure is part of the techniques involving fuzzy logic, revealing the rules of data association (Dubois and Prade 1992). In order to create GRI association rules are required one or more input and output fields. The output fields must be symbolic (yes, no, or 1, 2) (Marghny and Shakour 2005). The motivation to use the association rules is that they are usually fairly easy to interpret, unlike other methods, such as neural networks (Olson and Delen 2008). Rules in a dataset may overlap so that some records can trigger more than one rule (Zadeh 1992, 23-27).

The database in Table 1 was analyzed by processing the existing records by choosing only the full part of the records plus one unit. The processing resulted in a new database containing notes from 1 to 10. In order to obtain a dummy variable for the social policies efficiency, the authors considered that up to 7 will be assigned a value of 1 to the output variable and above 7 the value 2 will be assigned.

Records were later filtered by the value of the indicator that determines the public policies effectiveness, with a red color for lower and greener color for higher efficiency listings.

Table 2. Effectiveness of social policies towards different factors


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 131 The table above reveals that the states which have a greater proportion of the atheist population or people who believe in a spirit or a divine force are more effective than the states where the belief in God has a greater weight. Another conclusion is that, along with the rising poverty levels, including children, and the rising income inequality, social policies efficiency generally declines.

In the next stages of the study it was used the GRI fuzzy logic tool which also highlights the rules resulting the following conclusions:

Table 3. Association rules determined by the GRI method

Source: authors own research results.

The interpretation of the first rule is given by the fact that the social policies effectiveness is high if the poverty rate is low. The second and third rule confirms that social policies are more effective in the countries where it is a high proportion of the atheistic population or where the faith in God is not very high.

The quantitative study reveals that, in the short term, the relationship between faith in God and the efficiency of social assistance programs is reversed, while a developed pragmatism will lead to higher efficiency of social assistance programs. If we look at things in dynamics, the economic cycles theory, capital greed, and even the beehive comparison reveals that the trend of increasing efficiency through pragmatism is very difficult to maintain in the long run.

Just as working bees sometimes destroy honeycomb cells to feed the male bees, otherwise they face an imbalance that affects their develop- ment, productivity, vitality and immunity, likewise mankind must find other levers to ensure well-being. Identifying new levers to secure other safety nets is necessary, as the theory of economic cycles shows that nature and society need to re-establish common values after some time.

If we analyze the economic theory of the relation between economic growth and inequality, (from Marx to Kuznets or from apocalypse to fairy tales) we mention that if Marx apologizes for self-destruction of capitalism due to the increase of inequalities, Kuznets (1971) notices the two stages of the development of capitalism (the development phase and the consolidation phase).

If in the first phase of the development the growth is very important, which is similar to the flow that alters all the boats and the rest matters less (inequalities increase, social policies may be inefficient). In the second phase the responsibility of capital enters its natural role (the increased efficiency of the social policies).


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 132 In other words, if in the first phase the people need the support offered by the faith in order to achieve that balance, in the second stage, the role of the capital's social responsibility becomes more and more altruistic (thus the need for external support decreases accordingly).

3. Conclusions

Based on a qualitative comparative analysis and a quantitative assessment that uses correlation analysis, artificial intelligence techniques and fuzzy logic, the paper confirms the inverse dependence, in the short term, between the social assistance policies effectiveness compared to income inequality and poverty.

In the short run, the Christian mercy is reversing the effectiveness of social programs by confirming Nietzsche's criticisms of Christianity. In the long run, invisible spirits make the return to the faith values to prevail over the efficiency that is, however, ephemeral.

This increased efficiency of social policies in the phase of the consolidation of capitalism is reflected in the study by the decrease of the need for support, which may be the consequence of the awareness of the effective capacity of the capital to be altruistic.

The conclusion of the paper is that if pragmatism can make a policy effective, it does not happen indefinitely. Therefore, periodically, the society, as well as nature, has to return to universal values. The limitations of the study stem from the dataset used, which made it impossible to dynamically analyze the data, but also from the statistical analysis methods used. The authors will continue the research on the examination of relevant indicators in search of coherent solutions for designing safety nets appropriate to the current situation.


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Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 135 Annex 1. The set of indicators used

PolicyPerformance Education EnvironmentalPolicies Governance

Rankamong41countries EducationPolicy Environment ExecutiveCapacity

EconomicPolicies UpperSecondaryAttainment EnvironmentalPolicy StrategicCapacity

Economy T ertiaryAttainment EnergyProductivity StrategicPlanning

EconomicPolicy PISAresults GreenhouseGasEmissions ScholarlyAdvice

GDPperCapita PISA,SocioeconomicBackground ParticulateMatter InterministerialCoordination

Inflation Pre-primaryExpenditure WaterUsage GOExpertise

GrossFixedCapitalFormation SocialInclusion WasteGeneration GOGatekeeping RealInterestRates SocialInclusionPolicy MaterialRecycling LineMinistries

PotentialOutput,GrowthRate PovertyRate Biodiversity CabinetCommittees

LaborMarkets NEET Rate RenewableEnergy MinisterialBureaucracy

LaborMarketPolicy GiniCoefficient GlobalEnvironmentalProtection InformalCoordination Unemployment GenderEqualityinParliaments GlobalEnvironmentalPolicy Evidence-basedInstruments Long-termUnemployment LifeSatisfaction MultilateralEnvironmentalAgreementsRIAApplication YouthUnemployment Health KyotoParticipationandAchievementsQualityofRIAProcess Low-skilledUnemployment HealthPolicy QualityofDemocracy SustainabilityCheck EmploymentRate SpendingonHealthPrograms ElectoralProcesses SocietalConsultation

LowPayIncidence LifeExpectancy CandidacyProcedures NegotiatingPublicSupport

T axes InfantMortality MediaAccess PolicyCommunication

T axPolicy PerceivedHealthStatus VotingandRegistrationRights CoherentCommunication

T axSystemComplexity Families PartyFinancing Implementation

StructuralBalance FamilyPolicy PopularDecision-Making GovernmentEfficiency

MarginalT axBurdenforBusinesses ChildCareDensity,Age0-2 AccesstoInformation MinisterialCompliance RedistributionEffect ChildCareDensity,Age3-5 MediaFreedom MonitoringMinistries

Budgets FertilityRate MediaPluralism MonitoringAgencies,Bureaucracies

BudgetaryPolicy ChildPoverty AccesstoGovernmentInformation T askFunding DebttoGDP Pensions CivilRightsandPoliticalLiberties ConstitutionalDiscretion

PrimaryBalance PensionPolicy CivilRights NationalStandards

DebtInterestRatio OlderEmployment PoliticalLiberties Adaptability

BudgetConsolidation OldAgeDependencyRatio Non-discrimination DomesticAdaptability ResearchandInnovation SeniorCitizenPoverty RuleofLaw InternationalCoordination

R&IPolicy Integration LegalCertainty OrganizationalReform

PublicR&DSpending IntegrationPolicy JudicialReview Self-monitoring

Non-publicR&DSpending FB-NUpperSecondaryAttainment AppointmentofJustices InstitutionalReform T otalResearchers FB-NT ertiaryAttainment CorruptionPrevention ExecutiveAccountability

IntellectualPropertyLicenses FB-NUnemployment Citizens'ParticipatoryCompetence

PCT PatentApplications FB-NEmployment PolicyKnowledge

GlobalFinancialSystem SafeLiving VoicingOpiniontoOfficials

StabilizingGlobalFinancialMarkets SafeLivingConditions VoterT urnout

T ier1CapitalRatio Homicides LegislativeActors'Resources

Banks'NonperformingLoans T hefts ParliamentaryResources

SocialPolicies ConfidenceinPolice ObtainingDocuments

GlobalInequalities SummoningMinisters

GlobalSocialPolicy SummoningExperts

ODA T askAreaCongruence

AuditOffice OmbudsOffice Media MediaReporting NewspaperCirculation QualityNewspapers PartiesandInterestAssociations Intra-partyDemocracy AssociationCompetence(Business) AssociationCompetence(Others)

Source: SGI indicators.


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 136 Annex 2. Countries for which the data was analyzed

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Irland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexic, Netherlands, New Zeeland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweeden, Switzerland, Great Britain, United States of America.

Source: SGI indicators.

Annex 3. Correlation analysis

Atheist A spirit / A

force God

Atheist 1

A spirit / force 0.650576971 1

God -

0.886431459 -0.923498343 1

Policy Performance 0.65404247 0.686380171 -0.747678248 Rank among 41countries -

0.690653711 -0.703729162 0.779913453 Economic Policies 0.552839793 0.585239131 -0.64222547

Economy 0.47051527 0.528837999 -0.567218057

Economic Policy 0.347096623 0.514082245 -0.493330064 GDP per Capita 0.441683303 0.287684849 -0.417490887

Inflation 0.443522899 0.334321187 -0.412660734

Gross Fixed Capital

Formation 0.283350229 0.270166895 -0.320244455

Real Interest Rates 0.540247942 0.449388617 -0.550737718 Potential Output Growth

Rate -

0.036218645 -0.126666511 0.082708348 Labor Markets 0.436497816 0.409665745 -0.47575743 Labor Market Policy 0.38171238 0.412641121 -0.449211846 Unemployment 0.463946579 0.387500755 -0.474510953 Long-term Unemployment 0.434664692 0.352155593 -0.438763154 Youth Unemployment 0.416987234 0.43655003 -0.488280798 Low-skilled Unemployment 0.147159243 -0.00793936 -0.076382399 Employment Rate 0.57024048 0.685429028 -0.699370879 Low Pay Incidence 0.331574476 0.092948549 -0.229899833

Taxes 0.373661279 0.526976793 -0.50914419

Tax Policy 0.364067136 0.544088458 -0.517266804 Tax System Complexity 0.124074106 0.091305846 -0.12685422 Structural Balance 0.170376505 0.207380549 -0.209456576


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 137

Marginal Tax Burden for

Businesses -0.419312071 -0.259783736 0.36027671 Redistribution Effect 0.57236937 0.514293801 -0.576010378

Budgets 0.365187977 0.594066632 -0.561585136

Budgetary Policy 0.380911139 0.623875221 -0.589105663 Debt to GDP 0.243715259 0.391523136 -0.372276304 Primary Balance 0.110175679 0.154247283 -0.153594921 Debt Interest Ratio 0.489245495 0.522887638 -0.578365444 Budget Consolidation -

0.079575616 0.033168684 0.02165287 Research and Innovation 0.623585689 0.538873687 -0.637944617 R&I Policy 0.578139539 0.493015461 -0.588600666 Public R&D Spending 0.619986824 0.556137949 -0.644765119 Non-public R&D Spending 0.579804645 0.546363923 -0.620386871 Total Researchers 0.600462527 0.534169768 -0.622802037 Intellectual Property

Licenses 0.456298262 0.289145657 -0.391015755

PCT Patent Applications 0.496576209 0.465140637 -0.535981943 Global Financial System 0.562137985 0.464396317 -0.577488376 Stabilizing Global Financial

Markets 0.443137463 0.343290636 -0.436358036

Tier1Capital Ratio 0.149172337 0.343964983 -0.297960942 Banks Nonperforming Loans 0.575188088 0.422532395 -0.560682655 Social Policies 0.665126957 0.581169911 -0.685123345

Education 0.475909695 0.649768396 -0.622077011

Education Policy 0.3926596 0.524006922 -0.504401776 Upper Secondary Attainment 0.392386565 0.602451845 -0.558186915 Tertiary Attainment 0.423427869 0.488553198 -0.519867011 PISA results 0.442647561 0.389169961 -0.456532697 PISA, Socioeconomic

Background -0.12132394 0.078038708 0.02606264

Pre-primary Expenditure 0.370556828 0.512044045 -0.481677515 Social Inclusion 0.625778601 0.48767841 -0.613133507 Social Inclusion Policy 0.549456695 0.374613715 -0.515700803 Poverty Rate 0.633393679 0.432218047 -0.562951279

NEET Rate 0.585624373 0.545506408 -0.626427055

Gini Coefficient 0.571039547 0.485903552 -0.557816446 Gender Equality in

Parliaments 0.529337805 0.573299668 -0.611291152 Life Satisfaction 0.504621724 0.39483571 -0.494472045

Health 0.54565205 0.366055381 -0.49675953

Health Policy 0.500903241 0.342729607 -0.468926393


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 138

Spending on Health

Programs 0.355292978 0.409769944 -0.410131956

Life Expectancy 0.300684942 0.076186692 -0.198643736 Infant Mortality 0.468954203 0.344716768 -0.433059225 Perceived Health Status -

0.211960623 -0.23570302 0.258448953

Families 0.747033997 0.597823313 -0.733867051

Family Policy 0.725571643 0.590562189 -0.722989462 Child Care Density, Age 0-2 0.486134467 0.332835036 -0.440612997 Child Care Density, Age 3-5 0.53667838 0.491456482 -0.554374048 Fertility Rate 0.324830662 0.199281164 -0.292908926 Child Poverty 0.60181434 0.459306168 -0.569252861

Pensions 0.577675546 0.63726599 -0.671493395

Pension Policy 0.523358179 0.637881006 -0.655078172 OlderEmployment 0.492657022 0.713040063 -0.66591975 Old Age Dependency Ratio -

0.279302368 -0.344839916 0.334907954 Senior Citizen Poverty 0.549538438 0.346705605 -0.449902439 Integration 0.399437627 0.532433523 -0.509895819 Integration Policy 0.548958078 0.420387624 -0.536031147 FB-N Upper Secondary

Attainment 0.223473252 0.408532958 -0.338720967 FB-N Tertiary Attainment 0.341887058 0.508665292 -0.468963835

FB-N Unemployment -

0.472791519 -0.37771185 0.482959306

FB-N Employment -

0.495584863 -0.215197596 0.3831504 Safe Living 0.27875333 0.307076568 -0.327532055 Safe Living Conditions 0.209780878 0.335376089 -0.319540718

Homicides 0.309659633 0.154820025 -0.244175294

Thefts -

0.241659987 -0.153080613 0.227706696 Confidence in Police 0.33612827 0.303580509 -0.353848163 Global Inequalities 0.607398825 0.365278485 -0.534884955 Global Social Policy 0.619028376 0.41320958 -0.562836019

ODA 0.514598285 0.279643697 -0.440260196

Environmental Policies 0.553036405 0.698086586 -0.698957911 Environment 0.427238516 0.677374766 -0.630403737 Environmental Policy 0.495517202 0.745571537 -0.706239889 Energy Productivity -

0.376185957 -0.456451008 0.447650813 Greenhouse Gas Emissions -0.36779752 -0.205370224 0.322538493 Particulate Matter 0.218541168 0.305033052 -0.300295639


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 139

Water Usage -0.116530208 -0.280546719 0.219419993 Waste Generation -0.048269229 -0.004721742 0.044589859 Material Recycling 0.543450465 0.486284917 -0.579454671 Biodiversity 0.134260598 0.11647941 -0.123367351 Renewable Energy 0.183491087 0.562918921 -0.429414367 Global Environmental

Protection 0.594951055 0.635357837 -0.676195286 Global Environmental Policy 0.47443048 0.489472264 -0.533773503 Multilateral Environmental

Agreements 0.482587721 0.383989544 -0.473504632 Kyoto Participation and

Achievements 0.248004185 0.440662667 -0.37410459 Quality of Democracy 0.486713294 0.586653188 -0.599636857 Electoral Processes 0.483339869 0.550304462 -0.577884512 Candidacy Procedures 0.451139644 0.47578791 -0.511931868 Media Access 0.414099659 0.347987881 -0.416586904 Voting and Registration

Rights 0.439162225 0.379495625 -0.443096083

Party Financing 0.471623121 0.368392201 -0.466081083 Popular Decision-Making -

0.046247851 0.304699769 -0.166385165 Access to Information 0.433523854 0.585002797 -0.568152609 Media Freedom 0.479644529 0.533768957 -0.559746393 Media Pluralism 0.282437255 0.33560886 -0.342156731 Access to Government

Information 0.327435386 0.630387709 -0.543903824 Civil Rights and Political

Liberties 0.4946693 0.561083828 -0.583080544

Civil Rights 0.459321727 0.50370942 -0.528507489 Political Liberties 0.499650824 0.62370679 -0.618312666 Non-discrimination 0.382449432 0.407817956 -0.441722937 Rule of Law 0.417616351 0.491633258 -0.51409492 Legal Certainty 0.42320718 0.578801199 -0.557029369 Judicial Review 0.465119119 0.413762769 -0.48807275 Appointment of Justices 0.122850232 0.114032844 -0.142681725 Corruption Prevention 0.377072776 0.515867491 -0.512195017 Governance 0.539065336 0.579124791 -0.626088686 Executive Capacity 0.455159222 0.543927337 -0.564705424 Strategic Capacity 0.262558645 0.470050177 -0.416906858 Strategic Planning 0.240894862 0.4821305 -0.410779543 Scholarly Advice 0.219522526 0.325602939 -0.31110806 Interministerial

Coordination 0.36000103 0.276717935 -0.346153156


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 140

GO Expertise 0.33416928 0.294755361 -0.335123545 GO Gatekeeping 0.071489251 -0.129492525 0.057068577 Line Ministries 0.400254219 0.304146031 -0.384663724 Cabinet Committees 0.068896284 -0.028013609 -0.012569298 Ministerial Bureaucracy 0.261417567 0.381896288 -0.374189702 Informal Coordination 0.442395489 0.397487587 -0.472202898 Evidence-based Instruments 0.306301318 0.393073208 -0.379779869 RIA Application 0.213933061 0.35331551 -0.309370251 Quality of RIA Process 0.319704349 0.407644333 -0.391482271 Sustainability Check 0.336939649 0.355249314 -0.378418676 Societal Consultation 0.469187216 0.559094917 -0.590698783 Negotiating Public Support 0.469187216 0.559094917 -0.590698783 Policy Communication 0.387773681 0.374077847 -0.424544917 Coherent Communication 0.387773681 0.374077847 -0.424544917 Implementation 0.457268726 0.555377276 -0.580407858 Government Efficiency 0.194655533 0.433899224 -0.374627268 Ministerial Compliance 0.442666236 0.521692718 -0.534477361 Monitoring Ministries 0.179134601 0.408917452 -0.338301233 Monitoring Agencies,

Bureaucracies 0.338771868 0.250059175 -0.332418749 Task Funding 0.315075393 0.445750911 -0.446607319 Constitutional Discretion 0.407533411 0.487447558 -0.515703161 National Standards 0.445693099 0.318406086 -0.433204353 Adaptability 0.354098291 0.303237009 -0.369235111 Domestic Adaptability 0.180256694 0.282913474 -0.263558234 International Coordination 0.44484933 0.257885503 -0.39149259 Organizational Reform 0.228073734 0.40703776 -0.357941748 Self-monitoring 0.211926402 0.395843874 -0.33918103 Institutional Reform 0.164210737 0.271656711 -0.249720836 Executive Accountability 0.548735304 0.529107346 -0.597665996 Citizens' Participatory

Competence 0.378325084 0.311050688 -0.375047173 Policy Knowledge 0.394363566 0.482063949 -0.490214374 Voicing Opinion to Officials 0.327996721 0.272103417 -0.32361826 Voter Turnout 0.165888036 -0.022215734 -0.067739225 Legislative Actors' Resources 0.476837745 0.441602608 -0.510710937 Parliamentary Resources 0.495611331 0.158371666 -0.341311532 Obtaining Documents 0.419790275 0.445216969 -0.493326021 Summoning Ministers 0.408007303 0.46378266 -0.483415437


Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, vol. 19, issue 55 (Spring 2020) 141

Summoning Experts 0.316183486 0.236969035 -0.317183056 Task Area Congruence 0.257384962 0.298253434 -0.317749461 Audit Office 0.196004628 0.252042065 -0.262067228 Ombuds Office 0.259765602 0.295205565 -0.300048933

Media 0.536767128 0.618480259 -0.652000242

Media Reporting 0.51163676 0.522114848 -0.570330103 Newspaper Circulation 0.438906365 0.477060652 -0.522907836 Quality Newspapers 0.403881192 0.532325556 -0.532911099 Parties and Interest

Associations 0.476488306 0.479046938 -0.527840368 Intra-party Democracy 0.355840664 0.435547557 -0.4387225 Association Competence

(Business) 0.345676128 0.42343933 -0.438428947

Association Competence

(Others) 0.508201049 0.337637165 -0.449904375

Source: authors own research results.



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