Sub-National–Cross-National Variation: Method and Analysis in Sub-Saharan Africa

Rachel Beatty Riedl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This article proposes four different types of research designs to highlight the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological value of an interactive sub-national cross-national approach: as a two-level interaction, as a hierarchical model, as a set of controls, and as quasi-experimental. These possibilities demonstrate the unique advantages of theorizing and empirically analyzing sub-national variation in its relation to the national superstructure. Using the example of the multi-level identities and institutions associated with religious organizations across sub-Saharan Africa, I demonstrate that the impact of religious leaders on their affiliated followers’ political orientations vary according to the interactive position of each group in their local and national context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)932-959
Number of pages28
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • decentralization
  • hierarchical model
  • religious engagement
  • sub-national

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

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