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What is the relationship of religion to economics?


  • Clive Beed


In this journal, Welch and Mueller (WM) (2001) demonstrated a classificatory method for conceptualizing relationships between religion and economics. No judgement can be drawn from WM as to which of their four classifications might be a, or the, correct one. They conclude that the relationships are “both complex and controversial”, and that before any assessment can be apprehended adequately of how the two fields interact, “the permutations and subcategories implied by the system” used need to be identified and explored more thoroughly. This paper pursues that path, but argues that a more determinate verdict than WM's is possible. Here, an alternative interpretation of the relationship between religion and economics is investigated, in which WM's categories are assessed. In the alternative, WM's four classes are not taken to possess equal intellectual merit, as they appear to be. Using more current and comprehensive definitions of religion than WM's, a case is constructed that three of their four categories possess greater intellectual value than the remaining one. These three are here collapsed into one new mega-category regarded as that most validly describing the relationship between religion and economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Clive Beed, 2006. "What is the relationship of religion to economics?," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 64(1), pages 21-45.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:64:y:2006:i:1:p:21-45
    DOI: 10.1080/00346760500529930

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    Cited by:

    1. Ahmed, Ali M. & Salas, Osvaldo, 2008. "Is The Hand Of God Involved In Human Cooperation?An Experimental Examination Of The Supernatural Punishment Theory," CAFO Working Papers 2008:1, Linnaeus University, Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO), School of Business and Economics.
    2. Ahmed, Ali & Salas, Osvaldo, 2008. "Is the Hand of God Involved in Human Cooperation? An Experimental Examination of the Supernatural Punishment Theory," CAFO Working Papers 2009:1, Linnaeus University, Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO), School of Business and Economics.

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    religion; economics; theology; options; relationship;


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