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Do Religious Proscriptions Matter? Evidence from a Theory-Based Test

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  • Daniel M. Hungerman

Abstract

A large literature shows that religious participation is associated with a wide range of behaviors and outcomes, but what drives this association is unclear. On the one hand, this association may stem from correlations in preferences, where those with tastes for religion coincidentally have particular tastes for other behaviors as well. Alternately, religious participation may directly affect behavior; for example many religious organizations impose rules and proscriptions on their members and these rules may affect members’ decisions. Using the canonical economic model of religiosity, I develop an empirical test to investigate the importance of religious proscriptions on behavior. Several empirical applications of this test are conducted; the results indicate a strong role for religious proscriptions in determining behavior. The test developed here does not require an instrumental variable for religion and could be applied to the study of criminal gangs, terrorist organizations, fraternities, communes, political groups, and other “social clubs.”

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17375.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Publication status: published as “Do Religious Proscriptions Matter? Evidence from a Theory-Based Test,” forthcoming at the Journal of Human Resources
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17375

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  1. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  2. Earl L. Grinols & David B. Mustard, 2006. "Casinos, Crime, and Community Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 28-45, February.
  3. Daniel M. Hungerman, 2008. "Race And Charitable Church Activity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(3), pages 380-400, 07.
  4. Makowsky, Michael D., 2011. "Religion, clubs, and emergent social divides," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 74-87.
  5. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "An Evaluation of Instrumental Variable Strategies for Estimating the Effects of Catholic Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 791-821.
  6. Christopher Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin, 2007. "The Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Mortality: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from the Minimum Drinking Age," NBER Working Papers 13374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. William N. Evans & Julie H. Topoleski, 2002. "The Social and Economic Impact of Native American Casinos," NBER Working Papers 9198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Michael McBride, 2007. "Why Churches Need Free-riders: Religious Capital Formation and Religious Group Survival," Working Papers 060722, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  9. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1992. "Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-Riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-91, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Daniel M. Hungerman, 2011. "Substitution and Stigma: Evidence on Religious Competition from the Catholic Sex-Abuse Scandal," NBER Working Papers 17589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Martin Leroch & Carlo Reggiani & Gianpaolo Rossini & Eugenio Zucchelli, 2012. "Religious attitudes and home bias: theory and evidence from a pilot study," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series, Economics, The University of Manchester 1206, Economics, The University of Manchester.
  3. Grönqvist, Hans & Niknami, Susan, 2014. "Alcohol availability and crime: Lessons from liberalized weekend sales restrictions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 77-84.

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