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A monetary valuation of individual religious behaviour: the case of prayer


  • Timothy Tyler Brown


The majority of the US population is religious. The value of a fundamental religious behaviour, prayer, is determined using the well-being valuation method. Theoretically appropriate Instrumental Variables (IV) are used to avoid bias in estimating the effects of household income and the frequency of prayer on well-being. The marginal value of an additional weekly prayer session for individuals already at the national mean is estimated to be $6550 per annum (2004 dollars). Praying at the frequency of the national mean of 8.1 prayer sessions weekly is valued at $53 055 (2004 dollars) per annum. This is larger than the median household income in the US in 2004: $44 684. This suggests that the perception of communion with God is highly valued by religious individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Tyler Brown, 2013. "A monetary valuation of individual religious behaviour: the case of prayer," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(15), pages 2031-2037, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:45:y:2013:i:15:p:2031-2037
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2011.648318

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ambrey, Christopher L. & Fleming, Christopher M., 2014. "The causal effect of income on life satisfaction and the implications for valuing non-market goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 131-134.

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