While this does not establish a causal link between religious freedom and lower corruption, it does suggest that religious freedom may one of the contributing factors to a less corrupt society.
This connection may be seen in countries such as China that simultaneously try to crack down on corruption as well as those who fight for freedom, including freedom from corruption.
While the links between corruption and economic growth have been explored - with differing effects depending on government types and economic circumstance - in what way might increasing religious freedom in China also assist with combatting corruption?
Commenting on the recent destruction of a multi-million dollar church building in Wenzhou by Chinese officials purportedly for not following building codes, Joseph, who did on give his full name, observed, "Even if the authorities determined that erecting religious articles on the site is against the law, they should allow us to appeal through legal means. This could help build the rule of law in society and stop corruption."
Indeed, better understanding religious freedom may also shed light on new and effective ways to combat corruption.
* See Pew Research and Transparency International indexes.