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Publications, working papers, and other research using data resources from IPUMS.

Brenner, Philip S. 2011. Exceptional behavior or exceptional identity? Overreporting of Church Attendance in the US.

It is well established that religious service attendance is overreported on conventional surveys. However, research has focused almost exclusively on overreporting in American survey data. This study extends the current body of research by pursuing the following question: Are Americans the only overreporters, or is this a ubiquitous survey artifact inherent to conventional survey measures of religious service attendance? Overreporting is estimated as the difference between directive measures from conventional surveys and those from time diaries. The survey artifact is examined across 14 countries and over four decades, highlighting the consistency and extremeness of (over)reported American religious participation, in light of concordance between modes in other countries. Findings suggest that American religiosity may be exceptional not in terms of actual behavior, but rather in terms of identity. As a result, this study adds to our understanding of American exceptionalism by drawing a distinction between religious identities and religious behavior.