Witchcraft beliefs and the erosion of social capital: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa and Beyond

Journal of Development Economics Vol/Iss. 120 Elsevier Amsterdam Published In Pages: 182-208
By Gershman, Boris


Certain other supernatural beliefs will be significantly associated with generalized trust


Of the 18 variables, 10 variables were significantly correlated in some way with generalized trust. The five significant negative predictors of generalized trust are regional beliefs in heaven, sacrifices, shamans, and juju and personal beliefs in miracles. The five significant positive predictors of generalized trust are regional beliefs in angels and hell and personal beliefs in reincarnation, sacrifices, and shamans.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
OLSSupport for 10 of 18 variables - see note for directionsp<0.1Multiple r valuesUNKNOWN


Variable NameVariable Type OCM Term(s)
TrustDependent variableDrives And Emotions
Belief in ReincarnationIndependent variableEschatology
Belief in heavenIndependent variableEschatology
Belief in hellIndependent variableEschatology
Belief in angelsIndependent variableSpirits And Gods
Belief in miraclesIndependent variableMagic
Belief in evil spiritsIndependent variableSpirits And Gods
Belief in sacrificesIndependent variablePrayers And Sacrifices
Belief in shamansIndependent variableShamans And Psychotherapists
Belief in jujuIndependent variableMagic