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Calvin's reformation in Geneva: self and social signalling

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  • Gilat Levy
  • Ronny Razin
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    Abstract

    As Weber (1904) recognized, Calvinistic beliefs about predestination may constitute a powerful incentive for good works; an individual wishes to receive assurances about her future prospects of salvation, and good works may provide a positive signal about such prospects. These beliefs can in turn create a social pressure to behave well, as good works can also signal to others that individuals belong to the “elect” and are therefore likely to behave well in social interactions. Moreover, the Consistory, an institution created by Calvin to monitor and publicize individuals’ behaviour, can allow for such social signalling. We analyze these self and social signalling incentives, and show how religions affect levels of cooperation and coordination.

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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/54256/
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 54256.

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    Length: 14 pages
    Date of creation: 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:54256

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    1. Anderson, Gary M, 1988. "Mr. Smith and the Preachers: The Economics of Religion in the Wealth of Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 1066-88, October.
    2. Glaeser, Edward L & Glendon, Spencer, 1998. "Incentives, Predestination and Free Will," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 429-43, July.
    3. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Willpower and Personal Rules," CEPR Discussion Papers 3143, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2002. "People's Opium? Religion and Economic Attitudes," CEPR Discussion Papers 3588, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Erik Eyster & Matthew Rabin, 2005. "Cursed Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1623-1672, 09.
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    7. Jim Andreoni & Larry Samuelson, 2003. "Building Rational Cooperation," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 666156000000000068, www.najecon.org.
    8. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth across Countries," Scholarly Articles 3708464, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    9. Jean Tirole & Roland Benabou, 2004. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," 2004 Meeting Papers 15, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2011. "Identity, Morals, and Taboos: Beliefs as Assets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 805-855.
    11. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
    12. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
    13. Scheve, Kenneth & Stasavage, David, 2006. "Religion and Preferences for Social Insurance," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 1(3), pages 255-286, July.
    14. Avinash Dixit, 2003. "Trade Expansion and Contract Enforcement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1293-1317, December.
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