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

  • 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)

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.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, College of William and Mary in its series Working Papers with number 20.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 03 Aug 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:20
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  1. Tan, Jonathan H.W., 2006. "Religion and social preferences: An experimental study," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 60-67, January.
  2. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2003. "Are Political Economists Selfish and Indoctrinated? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(3), pages 448-462, July.
  3. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3d04q5sm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Warm-Glow versus Cold-Prickle: The Effects of Positive and Negative Framing on Cooperation in Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 1-21, February.
  5. Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs & von Rosenbladt, Bernhard & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2003. "A Nation-Wide Laboratory: Examining Trust and Trustworthiness by Integrating Behavioral Experiments into Representative Surveys," IZA Discussion Papers 715, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Lisa Anderson & Jennifer Mellor & Jeffrey Milyo, 2006. "Induced heterogeneity in trust experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 223-235, September.
  7. Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Mahmud, Minhaj & Martinsson, Peter, 2005. "Trust and Religion: Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh," Working Papers in Economics 167, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  8. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2003. "Rebate versus matching: does how we subsidize charitable contributions matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 681-701, March.
  10. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  11. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Trust in Large Organizations," NBER Working Papers 5864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Robert J. Barro & Rachel McCleary, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 9682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2004. "Giving to Secular Causes by the Religious and Nonreligious: An Experimental Test of the Responsiveness of Giving to Subsidies," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-07, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  14. Hessel Oosterbeek & Randolph Sloof & Gijs van de Kuilen, 2004. "Cultural differences in ultimatum game experiments: Evidence from a meta-analysis," Experimental 0401003, EconWPA.
  15. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "People's opium? Religion and economic attitudes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 225-282, January.
  16. Bruno Frey & Stephan Meier, 2005. "Selfish and Indoctrinated Economists?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 165-171, April.
  17. Bradley J. Ruffle & Richard H. Sosis, 2003. "Does It Pay To Pray? Evaluating the Economic Return to Religious Ritual," Experimental 0309002, EconWPA.
  18. Arthur C. Brooks, 2005. "Does Social Capital Make You Generous?," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 86(1), pages 1-15.
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