Molteni, Francesco


Researcher affiliated to the ISSR 

Post-doc researcher and adjunct professor, University of Milan, department of social and political sciences

Email : francesco.molteni<at>



If I had to choose a sentence to define my approach, I would reverse the very famous quote by W. Edwards Deming to obtain “without an opinion you’re just another person with data”. This because I believe in the strong connection between theory and data, and I really think that theory comes first. Only after a robust theoretical reasoning it comes the need to find the best way to put it under test, and this is what I really love to do!

I am currently Post-doc researcher and Adjunct Professor in Data Analysis at the Department of Social and Political Science of the University of Milan. My interest in sociology of religion started with my PhD when I decided to work on the empirical test of the well-known Norris and Inglehart’s existential insecurity theory. Starting from this many things followed. From the strong emphasis on religious transmission as main driver of religious change to the emerging field (at least in Italy) of immigrants’ religiosity. Meanwhile, I also did my best to make my methodological bases stronger. I am very committed to survey methods and I massively work with multilevel models to perform robust comparative analyses as well as to test very broad theories such as that about secularization. 

I am currently member of the Italian EVS (European Values Study) group, of the SPS Trend group ( and I also collaborate with the Italian unit for the project “The transmission of religion across generations:  a comparative international study of continuities and discontinuities in family socialization” funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

Areas of specialization

  • Sociology of religion
    • Secularization theory
    • Existential Insecurity Theory
    • Comparative study of religion
    • Religious evolution over time
    • Generational change and religious transmission
    • Immigrants’ religiosity
  • General sociology
    • Comparative study of values
    • Attitudes toward immigrants and immigration
  • Methodology
    • Survey Methods
    • Multidimensional measurement
    • Comparative analysis
    • Multilevel modelling
    • Age-period-cohort issues