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Religion and Faith: A Decision Theory Perspective

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  • Tigran Melkonyan

    ()
    (Department of Resource Economics, University of Nevada, Reno)

  • Mark Pingle

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Nevada, Reno)

Abstract

We examine the implications of decision theory for religious choice and evangelism, under the assumption that people choose their religion. The application of decision theory leads us to a broad definition of religion and a particular definition of faith, each related to the uncertainty associated with what happens to a person after death. We examine two extremes: total ambiguity and no ambiguity. For total ambiguity, we show there is “designer religion,” which is a religion that will capture all decision makers applying any one of the standard decision criteria. For no ambiguity, we characterize when a decision maker will find new religious information more valuable and we characterize a “miracle” in a specific way.

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File URL: http://www.business.unr.edu/econ/wp/papers/UNRECONWP08003.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics & University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics in its series Working Papers with number 08-003.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unr:wpaper:08-003

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Related research

Keywords: Religion; Decision Theory; Ambiguity; Optimism; Pessimism;

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  1. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  2. Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
  3. Montgomery, James D, 1996. "Contemplations on the Economic Approach to Religious Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 443-47, May.
  4. Deirdre McCloskey, 2004. "The Bourgeois Virtues," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 5(3), pages 1-16, July.
  5. McCloskey, Deirdre N., 2006. "The Bourgeois Virtues," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226556635, February.
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