Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty Profiles

Robert D. Woodberry
National University of Singapore
10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260

Office: AS1-04-47
Email: polwrd@nus.edu.sg
Tel: 66012829
Homepage: http://www.prec.com
| Brief Introduction | Teaching Areas | Current Research | Research Interests | Publications

Brief Introduction Top

Robert D. Woodberry is director of the Project on Religion and Economic Change (PREC) and an associate professor of political science at NUS. His research analyzes the long-term roots of education, mass printing, economic development and democracy in former colonies. Other interests include religious influences on political institutions and the economy and the international diffusion of social movements and printing. As part of PREC, he built a global, geo-spatial database of virtually all Protestant and Catholic missionary activity, education, and medical work from the mid-19th to md-20th centuries. The database also included detailed measures of colonial history, climate, terrain and geography.

Teaching Areas Top

Statistics, Methods, Religion and Politics,

Current Research Top

The global spread of printing, newspapers, mass education and civil society; democratization and economic development in former colonies; roots of ethnic and religious conflict; the social impact of missions, historical roots of the rule of law.

Research Interests Top

Religion and politics, comparative colonialism, democratization, historical roots of contemporary economic and political conditions.

Publications Top


  • Smith, Christian S. and Robert D. Woodberry. 2012. "Sociology of Religion." pp. 367-384 in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Sociology. George Ritzer (ed.). Cambridge: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Woodberry, Robert D. 2012. “Conclusion: World Christianity - Its History, Spread and Social Influence” pp. 259-271 in Introducing World Christianity. Charles Farhadian (ed.). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Woodberry, Robert D. in press. “Exploring the Relationship between Pentecostalism and Democracy.” in Spirit & Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism. Donald E. Miller, Kimon H. Sargeant and Richard Florey (eds.). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Woodberry, Robert D. 2011. “Religion and the Spread of Human Capital and Political Institutions: Christian Missions as a Quasi-Natural Experiment.” pp. 111-131 in The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Religion. Rachel McCleary (ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Woodberry, Robert D. 2009. “The Social Impact of Missions.” pp. 286-290 in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (4th ed.). Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library
  • Woodberry, Robert D. 2008. “Pentecostalism and Economic Development.” pp. 157-77 in Markets, Morals, and Religion. Jonathan B. Imber (ed.) with a preface by Peter L. Berger. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
  • Woodberry, Robert D. 2007. “The Social Impact of Missionary Higher Education.” pp. 99-120 in Christian Responses to Asian Challenges: A Glocalization View on Christian Higher Education in East Asia. Philip Yuen Sang Leung and Peter Tze Ming Ng (eds.). Hong Kong: Centre for the Study of Religion and Chinese Society, Chung Chi College, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
  • Woodberry, Robert D. 2007. “Missions and Economics,” “Missions and Modernity,” & “Missions and Politics.” pp. 123-127, 265-268, 347-350 in Encyclopedia of Missions and Missionaries. Jonathan J. Bonk (ed.). New York: Routledge.
  • Woodberry, Robert D. 2005. “Spiritual Capital.” pp. 12-19 in Spiritual Information. Charles L. Harper, Jr., (ed.). Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press.
  • Robert D. Woodberry and Timothy Samuel Shah. 2005. “The Pioneering Protestants.” pp. 117-32 in World Religions and Democracy. Larry Diamond, Marc F. Plattner and Philip J. Costopoulos (eds.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Smith, Christian S. and Robert D. Woodberry. 2001. "Sociology of Religion." pp. 100-113 in The Blackwell Companion to Sociology. Judith Blau (ed.). Cambridge: Blackwell.


  • Woodberry, Robert D. 2012. “The Missionary Roots of Liberal Democracy.” American Political Science Review 106(2): 244-274.
  • Woodberry, Robert D., Jerry Park, and Lyman A. Kellstedt with Mark Regnerus and Brian Steensland. Forthcoming. “The Measure of American Religious Traditions: Theoretical and Measurement Considerations.” Social Forces.
  • Zhai, Jiexia Elisa and Robert D. Woodberry. 2011. “Religion and Educational Ideals in Contemporary Taiwan.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 50(2): 307-327.
  • Gallego, Francesco and Robert D. Woodberry 2010. “Christian Missions and Education in Former African Colonies: How Competition Mattered.” Journal of African Economies 19(3): 294-319.
  • Woodberry, Robert D. 2006. “The Economic Consequences of Pentecostal Belief.” Society. 44(1): 29-35.
  • Ammerman, Nancy, with Wendy Cadge, Milagros Peña, Robert D. Woodberry, and Omar McRoberts. 2006. “On Being a Community of Scholars – Practicing the Study of Religion.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 45(2): 137-148.
  • Woodberry, Robert D. 2006. “Reclaiming the M-Word: The Consequences of Missions for Nonwestern Societies.” The Review of Faith and International Affairs 4(1): 3-12.
  • Woodberry, Robert D. and Timothy S. Shah. 2004. “Christianity and Democracy: The Pioneering Protestants.” Journal of Democracy 15(2): 47-61.
  • Woodberry, Robert D. and Howard E. Aldrich. 2000. “Planning and Running Effective Classroom-Based Exercises.” Teaching Sociology 28(3): 241-248.
  • Steensland, Brian, Jerry Z. Park, Mark D. Regnerus, Lynn D. Robinson, W. Bradford Wilcox, and Robert D. Woodberry. 2000. “The Measure of American Religion: Toward Improving the State of the Art.” Social Forces 79(1): 291-318.
  • Woodberry, Robert D. 1998. “When Surveys Lie and People Tell the Truth: How Surveys Over-Sample Church Attenders.” American Sociological Review 63(1): 119-122.
  • Woodberry, Robert D. and Christian S. Smith. 1998. “Fundamentalism et al.: Conservative Protestants in America.” Annual Review of Sociology 22: 25-56.
  • Welch, Michael, David Leege, and Robert Woodberry. 1998. “Pro-life Catholics and Support for Political Lobbying by Religious Groups.” Social Science Quarterly 79(3): 649-663.


  • Woodberry, Robert D. and Howard E. Aldrich. 2000. “Making Classroom Exercises Work.” The Teaching Professor 14(8): 4


  • Robert D. Woodberry. 2010. “Review of the Atlas of Global Christianity.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 34(1): 50.
  • Robert D. Woodberry. 2010. “Review of the World Religion Database.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 34(1): 21-22.
  • Robert D. Woodberry. 1998. “Review of ‘Resurgent Evangelicalism in the United States: Mapping Cultural Change Since 1970.’” Social Forces 77(1): 396-98.
  • Robert D. Woodberry. 1998. “Review of ‘Beyond Missionaries: Toward an Understanding of the Protestant Movement in Central America.’” Review of Religious Research 39(3): 278-79.
  • Robert D. Woodberry. 1997. “Review of ‘The Right and the Righteous: The Christian Right Confronts the Republican Party.’” Review of Religious Research 39(2): 191-92.
  • Robert D. Woodberry. 1997. “Review of ‘Religion and the Culture Wars: Dispatches from the Front.’” Review of Religious Research 39(2): 190-91.
  • Robert D. Woodberry. 1997. “Review of ‘God at the Grassroots: The Christian Right in the 1994 Elections.’” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 36(2): 335-336.


  • Robert D. Woodberry, Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa, Reid Porter and Xiaoyun Lu. 2010. “Conceptual Framework and Technical Innovations for Creating the Project on Religion & Economy Change Geo-Spatial Database.” Project on Religion and Economic Change Working Paper #004.
  • Robert D. Woodberry and Juan Carlos Esparza Ochoa. 2009. “Pastoral Activity of the Catholic Church: Geographic-Statistical, and Historical Database.” Project on Religion and Economic Change Working Paper #003
  • Robert D. Woodberry and Xiaoyun Lu. 2007. “Technical Report on GIS and Statistical Analysis for the Project on Religion and Economic Change.” PREC Working Paper #001.

  • Esparza Ochao, Juan Carlos and Robert D. Woodberry (compilers). 2010. “Maps displaying various indicators of poverty in Mexico by municipality and ecclesiastical circumscription” pp. 92, 115, 119-123 in Los Pobres No Pueden Esperar: Un Imperativo que Llama al Diálogo y a la Acción. Centro de Estudios y Promoción Social, A.C.: Mexico City.
  • Robert D. Woodberry. 2008. “PAA People.” PAA Affairs. Fall: 4.
  • Ammerman, Nancy and Robert Woodberry. 2001. “Graduate Education in the Sociology of Religion.” ASA Sociology of Religion Section Newsletter 7(2): 1-2.
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