Does Where You Stand Depend on Where You Sit? Tithing Donations and Self-Serving Beliefs
Economists and psychologists argue that individuals skew personal beliefs to accord with their own interests. To test for the presence of self-serving beliefs, we surveyed 1,200 members of the Mormon Church about tithing. A tithe is a voluntary contribution equal to 10 percent of income. Since respondents must decide privately what income items to tithe, we observe how the income definition depends on an individual's religious and financial incentives. We find surprisingly little evidence that an individual's financial situation influences beliefs about what counts as income for the tithe. However, ambiguity increases the role for self-serving biases.
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Volume (Year): 89 (1999)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
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- Lewellen, Wilbur G. & Park, Taewoo & Ro, Byung T., 1996. "Self-serving behavior in managers' discretionary information disclosure decisions," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 227-251, April.
- Gordon B. Dahl, 2002. "The 10% Flat Tax: Tithing and the Definition of Income," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(1), pages 120-137, January.
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- Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Reference points, anchors, norms, and mixed feelings," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 296-312, March. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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