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Religion, moral attitudes and economic behavior

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  • Kirchmaier, Isadora
  • Prüfer, Jens
  • Trautmann, Stefan T.

Abstract

Using data for a representative sample of the Dutch population with information about participants’ religious background, we study the association between religion and moral behavior and attitudes. We find that religious people are less accepting of unethical economic behavior (e.g., tax evasion, bribery) and report more volunteering. They are equally likely as non-religious people to betray trust in an experimental game, where social behavior is unobservable and not directed to a self-selected group of recipients. Religious people also report lower preference for redistribution. Considering differences between denominations, Catholics betray less than non-religious people, while Protestants betray more than Catholics and are indistinguishable from the non-religious. We also explore the intergenerational transmission and the potential causality of these associations.

Suggested Citation

  • Kirchmaier, Isadora & Prüfer, Jens & Trautmann, Stefan T., 2018. "Religion, moral attitudes and economic behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 282-300.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:148:y:2018:i:c:p:282-300
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.02.022
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gualtieri, Giovanni & Nicolini, Marcella & Sabatini, Fabio & Zamparelli, Luca, 2018. "Natural disasters and demand for redistribution: lessons from an earthquake," MPRA Paper 86445, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religion; Ethics; Redistribution; Trust game;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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