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Using Markov Transition Probabilities for Analysing the Stability of Religious Choice Among Russian Population (2011-2016)

Student: Elizaveta Ermolina

Supervisor: Alexander Skorobogatov

Faculty: St.Petersburg School of Economics and Management

Educational Programme: Economics (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2018

Religious choice of an individual and a religiosity of a society, despite being phenomena determined by rather unobservable factors, is a popular research subject in the field of economics of religion. The goal of the proposed research is to analyze the stability of a religious choice in an ambiguous Russian context. In particular, the study focuses on the ‘nominal religiosity’ phenomenon currently taking place in the country and investigates the patterns of this tendency more thoroughly. The research analyzes the period of 2011-2016 using multinomial probit regression model and the theoretical framework of Markov absorbing chain as the main research method. The analysis indicates that the religion in Russia has clear ‘belonging without believing’ patterns. The society is inclined to change religious views towards ‘nominal religiosity’, however, there are some personal attributes making this conversion more or less likely on an individual level. In particular, the study proves that gender and marital status affect the stability of religious beliefs.

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