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Religious Beliefs, Religious Participation, and Cooperation

  • Gilat Levy
  • Ronny Razin

We analyze the relation between religious beliefs, religious participation, and social cooperation. We focus on religions that instill beliefs about the connection between rewards and punishments and social behavior. We show how religious organizations arise endogenously, and identify a "spiritual" as well as a "material" payoff for being religious. We show that religious groups that are more demanding in their rituals are smaller, more cohesive, and are composed of individuals with more "extreme" beliefs. We use our framework to analyze the response of beliefs and religious membership to correlated shocks in society, such as natural disasters or periods of prosperity. (JEL D12, D83, Z12, Z13)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mic.4.3.121
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 121-51

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:4:y:2012:i:3:p:121-51
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.4.3.121
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-micro
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  1. 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.
  2. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(3), pages 905-950, August.
  3. Daniel L. Chen, 2010. "Club Goods and Group Identity: Evidence from Islamic Resurgence during the Indonesian Financial Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(2), pages 300-354, 04.
  4. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2005. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," NBER Working Papers 11208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bradley Ruffle & Richard Sosis, 2003. "Religious ritual and cooperation: Testing for a relationship on israeli religious and secular kibbutzim," Artefactual Field Experiments 00103, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. Scheve, Kenneth & Stasavage, David, 2006. "Religion and Preferences for Social Insurance," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 1(3), pages 255-286, July.
  7. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2002. "People's Opium? Religion and Economic Attitudes," CEPR Discussion Papers 3588, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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. MICHAEL McBRIDE, 2010. "Religious Market Competition in a Richer World," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 148-171, 01.
  10. 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.
  11. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1992. "Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-Riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-91, April.
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