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Religious and Economic Preferences: An Empirical Analysis of State Tax Rates and Public Spending

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  • Ayman Reda

Abstract

In an attempt to examine the role of religion and religious institutions in the formation of economic and political preferences, we empirically test the relationship between religious and economic variables in the context of the 50 US states. Specifically, we test whether changes in the religious composition of states over time influences state tax rates (public revenue), and state spending patterns (public expenditure). We use church membership rates and religious contributions as alternative measures of a state's religiosity level. The results report a weak relationship between state tax rates and the religiosity of the state population over time. However, a negative relationship was observed between religiosity and public welfare spending, and a positive relationship between religiosity and public education spending. Variations arise when Catholics are included in the analysis of public spending.

Suggested Citation

  • Ayman Reda, 2010. "Religious and Economic Preferences: An Empirical Analysis of State Tax Rates and Public Spending," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(3), pages 297-316.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:intecj:v:24:y:2010:i:3:p:297-316
    DOI: 10.1080/10168737.2010.503452
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    Keywords

    Denomination; liberal; conservative; religion; government;

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