Does it pay to pray? Costly ritual and cooperation
Time-consuming and costly religious rituals pose a puzzle for economists committed to rational choice theories of human behavior. We propose that either through selection or a causal relationship, the performance of religious rituals is associated with higher levels of cooperation. To test this hypothesis we design field experiments to measure the in-group cooperative behavior of members of religious and secular Israeli kibbutzim, communal societies for which mutual cooperation is a matter of survival. Our results show that religious males (the primary practitioners of collective religious ritual in Orthodox Judaism) are more cooperative than religious females, secular males and secular females. Moreover, the frequency with which religious males engage in collective religious rituals predicts well their degree of cooperative behavior.
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- Ruffle, Bradley J. & Sosis, Richard, 2006.
"Cooperation and the in-group-out-group bias: A field test on Israeli kibbutz members and city residents,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 147-163, June.
- Bradley J. Ruffle & Richard H. Sosis, 2003. "Cooperation and the In-Group-Out-Group Bias: A Field Test on Israeli Kibbutz Members and City Residents," Experimental 0310002, EconWPA.
- Bradley Ruffle & Richard Sosis, 2006. "Cooperation and the in-group-out-group bias: A field test on israeli kibbutz members and city residents," Artefactual Field Experiments 00104, The Field Experiments Website.
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- Bradley Ruffle & Richard Sosis, 2003. "Religious ritual and cooperation: Testing for a relationship on israeli religious and secular kibbutzim," Artefactual Field Experiments 00103, The Field Experiments Website.
- Eli Berman, 2000.
"Sect, Subsidy, And Sacrifice: An Economist'S View Of Ultra-Orthodox Jews,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 905-953, August.
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- Olof Johansson Stenman & Minhaj Mahmud & Peter Martinsson, 2006.
"Trust and Religion: Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh,"
Keele Economics Research Papers
KERP 2006/10, Centre for Economic Research, Keele University.
- 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.
- 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 271-91, April.
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