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Religious rules as a means of strengthening family ties: Theory and evidence from the Amish

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  • Choy, James P.

Abstract

Religious institutions impose many rules on their members. I argue that a central function of these rules in many religious communities is to promote altruistic and cooperative behavior within families. My argument contrasts with the dominant view in the literature that the primary economic function of religious rules is to promote altruism and cooperation between unrelated religious community members. I develop my argument using a novel dataset on the Amish. My theory can explain selection patterns into the Amish church, Amish cultural persistence, persistent inequality between the Amish and non-Amish people, and high Amish fertility rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Choy, James P., 2020. "Religious rules as a means of strengthening family ties: Theory and evidence from the Amish," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 729-748.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:48:y:2020:i:3:p:729-748
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2019.12.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cooperation; Altruism; Family relationships; Cultural economics; Religion;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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