Does it pay to pray? Costly ritual and cooperation
AbstractTime-consuming and costly religious rituals pose a puzzle for economists committed to rational choice theories of human behavior. We propose that either through selection or a causal relationship, the performance of religious rituals is associated with higher levels of cooperation. To test this hypothesis we design field experiments to measure the in-group cooperative behavior of members of religious and secular Israeli kibbutzim, communal societies for which mutual cooperation is a matter of survival. Our results show that religious males (the primary practitioners of collective religious ritual in Orthodox Judaism) are more cooperative than religious females, secular males and secular females. Moreover, the frequency with which religious males engage in collective religious rituals predicts well their degree of cooperative behavior.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Artefactual Field Experiments with number 00014.
Date of creation: 2007
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Other versions of this item:
- Ruffle Bradley J. & Sosis Richard, 2007. "Does It Pay To Pray? Costly Ritual and Cooperation," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-37, March.
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
- P32 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Collectives; Communes; Agricultural Institutions
- Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
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