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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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    Cited by:

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    2. Diederich, Freya & König, Hans-Helmut & Brettschneider, Christian, 2021. "A longitudinal perspective on inter vivos transfers between children and their parents in need of long-term care," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 19(C).
    3. Lane, Tom, 2021. "The effects of Jesus and God on pro-sociality and discrimination," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    4. Gualtieri, Giovanni & Nicolini, Marcella & Sabatini, Fabio, 2019. "Repeated shocks and preferences for redistribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 53-71.
    5. Kliger, Doron & Qadan, Mahmoud, 2019. "The High Holidays: Psychological mechanisms of honesty in real-life financial decisions," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 121-137.
    6. 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.
    7. Lamia Chourou, 2020. "Does Religiosity Matter to Value Relevance? Evidence from U.S. Banking Firms," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 162(3), pages 675-697, March.
    8. Potters, Jan & Xu, Yilong, 2020. "Social information and selfishness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 327-340.
    9. Giovanni Gualtieri & Marcella Nicolini & Fabio Sabatini & Luca Zamparelli, 2019. "Repeated Shocks and Preferences for Redistribution," Working Papers 2018.15, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    10. Tom Lane, 2019. "The differential effects of Jesus and God on distributive behaviour," Discussion Papers 2019-05, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    11. Amalia, Nadira & Moeis, Jossy P. & Arundina, Tika & Pertiwi, Ristiyanti Hayu & Mardhatillah, Amy, 2021. "Impact analysis of religiosity and altruism on multidimensional inequality;," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 517-525.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religion; Ethics; Redistribution; Trust game;
    All these keywords.

    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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