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The Power of Religious Organizations in Human Decision Processes: Analyzing Voting Behavior

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  • Benno Torgler
  • Davis Stadelmann
  • Marco Portmann

Abstract

In Switzerland, two key church institutions - the Conference of Swiss Bishops (CSB) and the Federation of Protestant Churches (FPC) - make public recommendations on how to vote for certain referenda. We leverage this unique situation to directly measure religious organizations' power to shape human decision making. We employ an objective measure of voters' commitment to their religious organization to determine whether they are more likely to vote in line with this organization's recommendations. We find that voting recommendations do indeed matter, implying that even in a secularized world, religion plays a crucial role in voting decisions.

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File URL: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/QuBEWorkingPapers/2013/VotingReligion.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by QUT Business School in its series QuBE Working Papers with number 023.

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Date of creation: 18 Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:qut:qubewp:wp023

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Web page: http://www.qut.edu.au/research/research-projects/queensland-behavioural-economics-group-qube

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Keywords: Power; religion; voting; referenda; trust; rules of thumb;

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  1. David Stadelmann & Benno Torgler, 2012. "Bounded Rationality and Voting Decisions Exploring a 160-Year Period," CESifo Working Paper Series 3907, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2013. "Quantifying parliamentary representation of constituents’ preferences with quasi-experimental data," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 170-180.
  3. Lindert Peter H., 1994. "The Rise of Social Spending, 1880-1930," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-37, January.
  4. Torgler, Benno, 2006. "The importance of faith: Tax morale and religiosity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 81-109, September.
  5. 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.
  6. Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer:, . "Are Voters Better Informed When They Have a Larger Say in Politics? Evidence for the European Union and Switzerland," IEW - Working Papers 119, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Frey, Bruno S, 1994. "Direct Democracy: Politico-economic Lessons from Swiss Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 338-42, May.
  8. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  9. Feld, Lars P. & Kirchgassner, Gebhard, 2000. "Direct democracy, political culture, and the outcome of economic policy: a report on the Swiss experience," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 287-306, June.
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