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Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam’s Global Gathering


  • Clingingsmith, David

    (Case Western Reserve U)

  • Khwaja, Asim Ijaz

    (Harvard U)

  • Kremer, Michael


We estimate the impact on pilgrims of performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Our method compares successful and unsuccessful applicants in a lottery used by Pakistan to allocate Hajj visas. Pilgrim accounts stress that the Hajj leads to a feeling of unity with fellow Muslims, but outsiders have sometimes feared that this could be accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. We find that participation in the Hajj increases observance of global Islamic practices such as prayer and fasting while decreasing participation in localized practices and beliefs such as the use of amulets and dowry. It increases belief in equality and harmony among ethnic groups and Islamic sects and leads to more favorable attitudes toward women, including greater acceptance of female education and employment. Increased unity within the Islamic world is not accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. Instead, Hajjis show increased belief in peace, and in equality and harmony among adherents of different religions. The evidence suggests that these changes are more a result of exposure to and interaction with Hajjis from around the world, rather than religious instruction or a changed social role of pilgrims upon return.

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  • Clingingsmith, David & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam’s Global Gathering," Working Paper Series rwp08-022, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp08-022

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth across Countries," Scholarly Articles 3708464, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. Glaeser, Edward L & Glendon, Spencer, 1998. "Incentives, Predestination and Free Will," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 429-443, July.
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    4. 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.
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    6. David Clingingsmith & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Michael Kremer, 2009. "Estimating the Impact of The Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam's Global Gathering," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1133-1170.
    7. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey Liebman & Lawrence F. Katz & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2004. "Moving to Opportunity and Tranquility: Neighborhood Effects on Adult Economic Self-Sufficiency and Health From a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," Working Papers 5, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    8. Eli Berman, 2000. "Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 905-953.
    9. repec:pri:cheawb:kling_mto481.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1992. "Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-Riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-291, April.
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    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact

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