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Divine Innovation: Religion and Service Provision by Religious Organizations in India

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  • Iyer, S.
  • Velu, C.
  • Xue, J.
  • Chakravarty, T.

Abstract

This paper examines innovations to religious and non-religious service provision by religious organizations in India. We present a stylized Hotelling-style model in which two religious organizations position themselves at opposite locations to differentiate themselves on the religious spectrum in order to compete to attract adherents. Moreover, the model predicts that economic inequality can make both organizations increase their provision of non-religious services to retain adherents. In order to test our propositions, we present unique primary survey data on the economics of religion that we have collected from 2006-2008 on 568 Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Jain religious organizations spread across seven Indian states. We use these data to provide qualitative and descriptive statistics from the survey that is consistent and provides initial support for our propositions. We show that these organizations have substantially increased their provision of religious and non-religious services, but that there are significant variations by religion. We also provide quantitative evidence based on econometric testing to highlight that Indian religious organizations are maximizing the differences in their ideology with respect to other organizations, and are also providing higher education and health services as economic inequality increases in India.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 1135.

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Date of creation: 06 Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1135

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Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm

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  1. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  2. Iannaccone, Laurence R & Finke, Roger & Stark, Rodney, 1997. "Deregulating Religion: The Economics of Church and State," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 350-64, April.
  3. Rajeev Dehejia & Thomas DeLeire & Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2005. "Insuring Consumption and Happiness Through Religious Organizations," NBER Working Papers 11576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Steven N. Durlauf & Andros Kourtellos & Chih Ming Tan, 2010. "Is God in the Details? A Reexamination of the Role of Religion in Economic Growth," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 11-2010, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  5. Stark, Rodney & Iannaccone, Laurence R & Finke, Roger, 1996. "Religion, Science, and Rationality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 433-37, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Iyer, Sriya & Velu, Chander & Mumit, Abdul, 2014. "Communication and marketing of services by religious organizations in India," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 59-67.

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