Religion as a stimulant of political participation: Experimental evidence from Nairobi, Kenya

Gwyneth McClendon*, Rachel Beatty Riedl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this article we explore how certain religious messages may spur or constrain political participation. Specifically, we test whether religious messages that provide individuals a positive self-image can act as stimulants, giving people a sense of internal efficacy to participate in politics. We explore this hypothesis through a novel experimental design in Nairobi, Kenya. We find that exposure to self-affirmation messages typical of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches motivated participation in a political text message campaign. We discuss implications of these findings for politics in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as for the study of religion and politics more generally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1045-1057
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Politics
Volume77
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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