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Religiosity and economic performance: Micro-econometric evidence from Tibetan area

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  • Tu, Qin
  • Bulte, Erwin
  • Tan, Shuhao

Abstract

We use results from a household survey to explore the relation between religiosity and our proxy for income among herders in rural Tibet. Our main results are twofold. First, there exists a positive relation between the intensity of religious beliefs (the main 'output' of the religious production process) and income -- beliefs about the afterlife affect production and savings decisions today. Second, and perhaps more surprising, we find an inverted U-shaped relation between religious 'inputs' (time and money spent in the temple) and income. While it is possible to use too much resources as religious inputs, we find that the great majority of the respondents is on the upward sloping part of the curve linking economic performance to religious inputs. We present tentative evidence that the positive impact of religiosity and income may be explained by status (reputation) and information effects associated with producing religiosity.

Suggested Citation

  • Tu, Qin & Bulte, Erwin & Tan, Shuhao, 2011. "Religiosity and economic performance: Micro-econometric evidence from Tibetan area," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 55-63, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:22:y:2011:i:1:p:55-63
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, 2013. "Origins of Religiousness: The Role of Natural Disasters," Discussion Papers 13-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    2. Wang, Qunyong & Lin, Xinyu, 2014. "Does religious beliefs affect economic growth? Evidence from provincial-level panel data in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 277-287.

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