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Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam's Global Gathering

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  • David Clingingsmith

    (Case Western Reserve University.)

  • Asim Ijaz Khwaja

    (Harvard University.)

  • Michael Kremer

    (Harvard University, the Brookings Institution, and the National Bureau of Economic Research.)

Abstract

We estimate the impact on pilgrims of performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Our method compares successful and unsuccessful applicants in a lottery used by Pakistan to allocate Hajj visas. Pilgrim accounts stress that the Hajj leads to a feeling of unity with fellow Muslims, but outsiders have sometimes feared that this could be accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. We find that participation in the Hajj increases observance of global Islamic practices, such as prayer and fasting, while decreasing participation in localized practices and beliefs, such as the use of amulets and dowry. It increases belief in equality and harmony among ethnic groups and Islamic sects and leads to more favorable attitudes toward women, including greater acceptance of female education and employment. Increased unity within the Islamic world is not accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. Instead, Hajjis show increased belief in peace, and in equality and harmony among adherents of different religions. The evidence suggests that these changes are likely due to exposure to and interaction with Hajjis from around the world, rather than to a changed social role of pilgrims upon return. (c) 2009 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 124 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 1133-1170

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:3:p:1133-1170

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  1. Clingingsmith, David & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam’s Global Gathering," Working Paper Series rwp08-022, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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