Examining Megachurch Growth: Free Riding, Fit, and Faith
AbstractMegachurches are thriving in religious markets at a time when Americans are asserting their ability as consumers of religious products to engage in religious switching. The apparent success of megachurches, which often provide a low cost and low commitment path by which religious refugees may join the church, seems to challenge Iannocconne’s theory that high commitment churches will thrive while low commitment churches will atrophy. This paper employs a signaling model to illustrate the strategy and organizational forms megachurches employ to indicate a match between what the church produces and the religious refugee wishes to consume in an effort to increase their membership. The model illustrates that megachurches expect little in regard to financial or time commitment of new attendees. However, once the attendees perceive a good fit with the church, the megachurch increases its expectation of commitment. Data from the FACT2000 survey provide evidence in support of the model’s predictions.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Marquette University, Center for Global and Economic Studies and Department of Economics in its series Working Papers and Research with number 2010-07.
Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision:
megachurches; quality signaling; Economics;
Other versions of this item:
- Marc von der Ruhr & Joseph P. Daniels, 2012. "Examining megachurch growth: free riding, fit, and faith," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 39(5), pages 357-372, May.
- Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-10-30 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Robert B. Ekelund Jr. & Robert F. Hebert & Robert D. Tollison, 2008. "The Marketplace of Christianity," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550717, December.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joseph P. Daniels).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.