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

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  • Brañas-Garza, Pablo

    ()
    (Middlesex University Business School, London)

  • Espín, Antonio M.

    ()
    (Universidad de Granada)

  • Neuman, Shoshana

    ()
    (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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7683.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7683

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Keywords: church attendance; religion; economic experiments; pro-social behaviour; Spain;

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  1. Bar-El, Ronen & García Muñoz, Teresa & Neuman, Shoshana & Tobol, Yossi, 2010. "The Evolution of Secularization: Cultural Transmission, Religion and Fertility Theory, Simulations and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 4980, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. 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..
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  7. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Maximo Rossi & Dyane Zaclicever, 2006. "Individual s religiosity enhances trust: Latin American evidence for the puzzle," Papers on Economics of Religion, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada. 06/05, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  8. 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.
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  13. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "People's opium? Religion and economic attitudes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 225-282, January.
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  16. Gianandrea Staffiero & Filippos Exadaktylos & Antonio M. Espín, 2012. "Accepting Zero in the Ultimatum Game Does Not Reflect Selfish Preferences," Working Papers, Murat Sertel Center for Advanced Economic Studies, Istanbul Bilgi University 201203, Murat Sertel Center for Advanced Economic Studies, Istanbul Bilgi University.
  17. 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.
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  19. 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, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary 20, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  20. Nava Ashraf & Iris Bohnet & Nikita Piankov, 2006. "Decomposing trust and trustworthiness," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 193-208, September.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
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