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Some Insights on Religion from Public Goods Economics

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  • Prateek Goorha

Abstract

This paper provides a theoretical discussion on what analytical insight is gained by viewing religion as both a pure and impure public good. It suggests that organized religion converts a public good into an excludable club good and can be viewed as providing both an access regime for this club good as well as acting as an intermediary. Interestingly, this drives a wedge between the ardent and moderate adherents of a religion. It also presents an analysis of trust in social relationships when organized religion works to provide a credible signal of trustworthiness.

Suggested Citation

  • Prateek Goorha, 2011. "Some Insights on Religion from Public Goods Economics," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 221-231, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:fosoec:v:40:y:2011:i:2:p:221-231
    DOI: 10.1007/s12143-010-9080-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
    2. Tomes, Nigel, 1985. "Religion and the Earnings Function," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 245-250, May.
    3. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1992. "Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-Riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-291, April.
    4. Anderson, Gary M, 1988. "Mr. Smith and the Preachers: The Economics of Religion in the Wealth of Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 1066-1088, October.
    5. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
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