Mr. Smith and the Preachers: The Economics of Religion in the Wealth of Nations
The extension of economic analysis to problems beyond the domain of formal markets and explicit prices represents a major recent intellectual development. But "economic imperialism" is not new and was not invented in Chicago. Adam Smith, in his Wealth of Nations, extended economic reasoning to a variety of nonmarket exchange problems. One example is his analysis of religious behavior. Smith viewed participation in religion as a rational device by which individuals enhanced the value of their human capital. He also explained the behavior of the clergy and other suppliers of religious services from an economic perspective. Copyright 1988 by University of Chicago Press.
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