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Religious Identity and Economic Behavior

Author

Listed:
  • Daniel J. Benjamin

    (University of Southern California and NBER)

  • James J. Choi

    (Yale University and NBER)

  • Geoffrey Fisher

    (Cornell University)

Abstract

We find using laboratory experiments that primes that make religion salient cause subjects to identify more with their religion and affect their economic choices. The effect on choices varies by religion. For example, priming causes Protestants to increase contributions to public goods, whereas Catholics decrease contributions to public goods, expect others to contribute less to public goods, and become less risk averse. A simple model implies that priming effects reveal the sign of the marginal impact of religious norms on preferences. We find no evidence of religious priming effects on disutility of work effort, discount rates, or dictator game generosity.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel J. Benjamin & James J. Choi & Geoffrey Fisher, 2016. "Religious Identity and Economic Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 617-637, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:98:y:2016:i:4:p:617-637
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    religion; identity; gift exchange; public goods; dictator game;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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