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Preaching to the choir? Economic analysis of Church Growth

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  • Esa Mangeloja

    () (School of Business and Economics. University of Jyv skyl -Finland)

Abstract

Economic theory, applied economic modeling and econometric methods offer advantageous tools for analyzing numerous organizations, institutions and social contexts which are not inherently downright economical by nature, as religious markets. In contemporary rational choice religious market models, church growth is assumed to depend on surplus resources available for church development. These extra resources can exist as volunteer work and extra monetary contributions, delivered by enthusiasts and active members, signaling devotion and personal sacrifice. These inputs produce more members and attendants into churches. These hypotheses are tested by applying religious market data from Finland. Models are estimated by comparing data from the dominant state church and the competitive free-church. Both models seem to give support for previous argumentation, emphasizing the importance of volunteer activism and surplus efforts for the church growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Esa Mangeloja, 2007. "Preaching to the choir? Economic analysis of Church Growth," Papers on Economics of Religion 07/02, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  • Handle: RePEc:gra:paoner:07/02
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    File URL: http://www.ugr.es/~teoriahe/RePEc/gra/paoner/per07_02.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John Sawkins & Paul Seaman & Hector Williams, 1997. "Church attendance in Great Britain: An ordered logit approach," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(2), pages 125-134.
    2. Ian Smith & John Sawkins, 2003. "The economics of regional variation in religious attendance," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(14), pages 1577-1588.
    3. Lipford, Jody W. & Tollison, Robert D., 2003. "Religious participation and income," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 249-260, June.
    4. Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
    5. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
    6. Pat McGregor & Roisin Thanki & Patricia McKee, 2002. "Home and away: graduate experience from a regional perspective," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(2), pages 219-230.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    church growth; rational choice; religion; cost-benefit analysis; voluntary work;

    JEL classification:

    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • L84 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Personal, Professional, and Business Services

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