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Effects of Religiosity on Social Behaviour: Experimental Evidence From a Representative Sample of Spaniards

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  • Pablo Brañas-Garza
  • Antonio M. Espín
  • Shoshana Neuman

    ()
    (Bar-Ilan University)

Abstract

This study explores the effect of several personal religion-related variables on social behaviour, using three paradigmatic economic games: the dictator (DG), ultimatum (UG), and trust (TG) games. A large carefully designed sample of a Spanish urban adult population (N=766) is employed. From participants’ decisions in these games we obtain measures of altruism, bargaining behaviour and sense of fairness/equality, trust, and positive reciprocity. Three dimensions of religiosity are examined: (i) religious denomination; (ii) the intensity of religiosity, measured by active participation at church services; and (iii) converting out into a different denomination than the one raised in. The major results are: (i) individuals with “no religion” made decisions closer to rational selfish behaviour in the DG and the UG compared to those who affiliate with a “standard” religious denomination; (ii) among Catholics, intensity of religiosity is the key variable that affects social behaviour insofar as religiously-active individuals are generally more pro-social than non-active ones; and (iii) the religion raised in seems to have no effect on pro-sociality, beyond the effect of the current measures of religiosity. Importantly, behaviour in the TG is not predicted by any of the religion-related variables we analyse. Given the accelerating share of “no religion” individuals (in Europe and elsewhere) and the large influx of immigrants – who tend to be more religiously active compared to the native populations – our findings have significant implications for the future pro-sociality patterns in Europe.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University in its series Working Papers with number 2013-07.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:biu:wpaper:2013-07

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Postal: Faculty of Social Sciences, Bar Ilan University 52900 Ramat-Gan
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Web page: http://econ.biu.ac.il
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Keywords: economic experiments; religion; church attendance; pro-social behaviour; Spain;

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References

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  1. Simon Fan, C., 2008. "Religious participation and children's education: A social capital approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 303-317, February.
  2. Anderson, Lisa R. & Mellor, Jennifer M., 2009. "Religion and cooperation in a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 58-60, October.
  3. Migheli, Matteo, 2009. "Assessing trust through social capital? A possible experimental answer," POLIS Working Papers 119, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  4. Nava Ashraf & Iris Bohnet & Nikita Piankov, 2006. "Decomposing trust and trustworthiness," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 193-208, September.
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  6. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1999. "Beyond the Melting Pot: Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," Papers 1999-10, Laval - Laboratoire Econometrie.
  7. Lisa Anderson & Jennifer Mellor & Jeffrey Milyo, 2010. "Did the Devil Make Them Do It? The Effects of Religion in Public Goods and Trust Games -super-* ," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 163-175, 05.
  8. Pablo BraÒas-Garza & Shoshana Neuman, 2004. "Analyzing Religiosity within an Economic Framework: The Case of Spanish Catholics," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 5-22, 03.
  9. Fernández, Raquel & Fogli, Alessandra, 2005. "Fertility: The Role of Culture and Family Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 5221, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Ramón Cobo-Reyes & Almudena Domínguez, 2005. ""Si él lo necesita": Gypsy fairness in Vallecas," ThE Papers 05/02, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  11. Mariya Aleksynska & Barry Chiswick, 2013. "The determinants of religiosity among immigrants and the native born in Europe," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 563-598, December.
  12. Alberto Bisin & Giorgio Topa & Thierry Verdier, 2004. "Religious Intermarriage and Socialization in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 615-664, June.
  13. Tan, Jonathan H.W., 2006. "Religion and social preferences: An experimental study," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 60-67, January.
  14. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2003. "Rebate versus matching: does how we subsidize charitable contributions matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 681-701, March.
  15. Antonio M. Espín & Filippos Exadaktylos & Benedikt Herrmann & Pablo Brañas-Garza, 2013. "Short- and Long-run Goals in Ultimatum Bargaining," Working Papers 13-17, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  16. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Máximo Rossi & Dayna Zaclicever, 2006. "Individual’s religiosity enhances trust: Latin American evidence for the puzzle," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0506, Department of Economics - dECON.
  17. Lisa R. Anderson & Jennifer M. Mellor & Jeffrey Milyo, 2005. "Did the Devil Make Them Do It? The Effects of Religion in Public Goods and Trust Games," Working Papers 20, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  18. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1997. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," DELTA Working Papers 97-03, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  19. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2002. "People's Opium? Religion and Economic Attitudes," NBER Working Papers 9237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Ben-Ner, Avner & Halldorsson, Freyr, 2010. "Trusting and trustworthiness: What are they, how to measure them, and what affects them," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 64-79, February.
  21. Filippos Exadaktylos & Antonio M. Espin & Pablo Branas-Garza, 2012. "Experimental Subjects are Not Different," Working Papers 12-11, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  22. Gianandrea Staffiero & Filippos Exadaktylos & Antonio M. Espín, 2012. "Accepting Zero in the Ultimatum Game Does Not Reflect Selfish Preferences," Working Papers 201203, Murat Sertel Center for Advanced Economic Studies, Istanbul Bilgi University.
  23. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth across Countries," Scholarly Articles 3708464, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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