Jing Shen, Irena Kogan
Does contextual exposure matter? Examining the causal effect of religious diversity on life satisfaction in the UK, 2009-2016

XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology, Toronto, 15. bis 21. Juli 2018

This study explores to what extent life satisfaction is related to contextual exposure to religion for the dominant religious group, minority religious groups, and non-religious group, respectively, by linking the UK Household Longitudinal Study with geographic codes at the level of Local Authority between 2009 and 2016. Analyses are conducted by using multilevel modelling on the whole sample and fixed-effect modelling exclusively on stayers. Findings show that neither a change in religious in-group exposure nor in exposure to religious diversity affects Christians’ life satisfaction. A negative effect of in-group exposure on life satisfaction is found among the non-religious, Muslims, and Hindus. The increase in exposure to Muslims decreases life satisfaction, but only among the non-religious whites. Methodologically, this study ascertains that to a great extent, observed associations between religious exposure and life satisfaction shown by multilevel models do not pass the test for causality in fixed-effect modelling.