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Religiosity: Identifying the effect of pluralism

Author

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  • Coşgel, Metin M.
  • Hwang, Jungbin
  • Miceli, Thomas J.
  • Yıldırım, Sadullah

Abstract

Economists and sociologists have long disagreed over the effect of pluralism on religiosity, the question of whether the number religions in a society lessens or heightens people's beliefs and participation. The controversy stems from the omission of religion's role in legitimizing government, which has significantly biased previous estimates. We use a novel identification strategy that exploits the variation among countries in their proximity (cost of travel) to centers of universal religions of the world (Buddhism, Christianity, Islam). Whereas the results of OLS analysis tentatively suggest a negative association between pluralism and religiosity, estimates from the method of instrumental variables reveal that the direct effect of pluralism is positive. Our results support the argument that enhanced competition in the religion market would increase religiosity by offering believers a greater variety and quality of choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Coşgel, Metin M. & Hwang, Jungbin & Miceli, Thomas J. & Yıldırım, Sadullah, 2019. "Religiosity: Identifying the effect of pluralism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 219-235.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:158:y:2019:i:c:p:219-235
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.11.018
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gouda, Moamen & Gutmann, Jerg, 2018. "Islamic constitutions and religious minorities," ILE Working Paper Series 19, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pluralism; Religiosity; Diversity; Legitimacy; Universal religion;

    JEL classification:

    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • O5 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems

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