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Did the Devil Make Them Do It? The Effects of Religion in Public Goods and Trust Games

Author

Listed:
  • Lisa R. Anderson

    (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

  • Jennifer M. Mellor

    (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

  • Jeffrey Milyo

    (Department of Economics, University of Missouri)

Abstract

Observational studies frequently support the popular belief that religion is associated with more other-regarding behavior; however, such studies are well known to be susceptible to the confounding effects of unobserved determinants of cooperation and trust. We test whether religious affiliation and participation in religious services are associated with behavior in public goods and trust games. Contrary to popular wisdom, religious affiliation is unrelated to individual behavior. However, we do find some weak evidence that among subjects attending religious services, increased participation is associated with behavior in both public goods and trust games.

Suggested Citation

  • Lisa R. Anderson & Jennifer M. Mellor & Jeffrey Milyo, 2005. "Did the Devil Make Them Do It? The Effects of Religion in Public Goods and Trust Games," Working Papers 20, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:20
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    File URL: http://economics.wm.edu/wp/cwm_wp20rev3.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Hoffmann, 2013. "The Experimental Economics Of Religion," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(5), pages 813-845, December.
    2. Berggren, Niclas & Bjã˜Rnskov, Christian, 2013. "Does religiosity promote property rights and the rule of law?," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 161-185, June.
    3. Gupta, Gautam & Mahmud, Minhaj & Maitra, Pushkar & Mitra, Santanu & Neelim, Ananta, 2018. "Religion, minority status, and trust: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 180-205.
    4. Etang, Alvin & Fielding, David & Knowles, Stephen, 2012. "Giving to Africa and perceptions of poverty," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 819-832.
    5. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Antonio M Espín & Shoshana Neuman, 2014. "Religious Pro-Sociality? Experimental Evidence from a Sample of 766 Spaniards," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 9(8), pages 1-11, August.
    6. Chuah, Swee Hoon & Gächter, Simon & Hoffmann, Robert & Tan, Jonathan H.W., 2016. "Religion, discrimination and trust across three cultures," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 280-301.
    7. Fabio Padovano & Ronald Wintrobe, 2013. "The Dictatorship of the Popes," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 365-377, August.
    8. Berggren, Niclas & Bjørnskov, Christian, 2011. "Is the importance of religion in daily life related to social trust? Cross-country and cross-state comparisons," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 459-480.
    9. Maryam Dilmaghani, 2012. "Global financial crisis: dharmic transgressions and solutions," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 39(1), pages 55-80, January.
    10. El Bialy, Nora & Nicklisch, Andreas & Voigt, Stefan, 2017. "Risk-taking, Trust, and Traumatization of Refugees in Germany – A Field Experiment," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168221, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. M. Niaz Asadullah, 2017. "Who Trusts Others? Community and Individual Determinants of Social Capital in a Low-Income Country," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(2), pages 515-544.
    12. Arbel, Yuval & Bar-El, Ronen & Tobol, Yossef, 2016. "Fundraising to a real-life public good – evidence from the laboratory," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 27-37.
    13. Friedrich Schneider & Katharina Linsbauer & Friedrich Heinemann, 2015. "Religion and the Shadow Economy," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 111-141, February.
    14. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Espín, Antonio M. & Neuman, Shoshana, 2013. "Effects of religiosity on social behaviour: Experimental evidence from a representative sample of Spaniards," CEPR Discussion Papers 9709, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Chuah, Swee Hoon & Gächter, Simon & Hoffmann, Robert & Tan, Jonathan H. W., 2015. "Religion, Discrimination and Trust," IZA Discussion Papers 9616, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Olof Johansson‐Stenman & Minhaj Mahmud & Peter Martinsson, 2009. "Trust and Religion: Experimental Evidence from Rural Bangladesh," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(303), pages 462-485, July.
    17. Chuah, Swee-Hoon & Hoffmann, Robert & Ramasamy, Bala & Tan, Jonathan H.W., 2014. "Religion, ethnicity and cooperation: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 33-43.
    18. Alvin Etang & David Fielding & Stephen Knowles, 2016. "Who Votes Expressively, And Why? Experimental Evidence," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 105-116, April.
    19. Basedau, Matthias & Gobien, Simone & Prediger, Sebastian, 2017. "The Ambivalent Role of Religion for Sustainable Development: A Review of the Empirical Evidence," GIGA Working Papers 297, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    20. He, Haoran & Jiang, Shuguang, 2020. "Partisan culture, identity and corruption: An experiment based on the Chinese Communist Party," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    21. Jonathan Oxley, 2020. "Examining Donor Preference for Charity Religious Affiliation," Working Papers wp2020_01_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
    22. H'MADOUN, Maryam, 2011. "Afraid of God or afraid of man: How religion shapes attitudes toward free riding and fraud," Working Papers 2011008, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Business and Economics.
    23. Akay, Alpaslan & Karabulut, Gökhan & Martinsson, Peter, 2011. "The Effect of Religion on Cooperation and Altruistic Punishment: Experimental Evidence from Public Goods Experiments," IZA Discussion Papers 6179, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    religion; Public goods; experiments; religion; social capital and trust;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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