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A Model of Religion and Death


  • Derek Pyne

    (Department of Economics. University of Waterloo, Canada)


This paper attempts to explain several empirical findings regarding religion. The main one is between religion and the fear of death. Some empirical evidence indicates moderately religious individuals fear death more than either atheists or extremely religious individuals. The model also explains the positive relationship often found between religious activity (e.g. church attendance) and age. It also provides an explanation of the positive relationship between education and religious activity despite a negative relationship between education and religious belief.

Suggested Citation

  • Derek Pyne, 2008. "A Model of Religion and Death," Papers on Economics of Religion 08/06, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  • Handle: RePEc:gra:paoner:08/06

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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. Paul Wink & Julia Scott, 2005. "Does Religiousness Buffer Against the Fear of Death and Dying in Late Adulthood? Findings From a Longitudinal Study," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 60(4), pages 207-214.
    3. Iannaccone, Laurence R & Finke, Roger & Stark, Rodney, 1997. "Deregulating Religion: The Economics of Church and State," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 350-364, April.
    4. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce I. Sacerdote, 2008. "Education and Religion," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(2), pages 188-215.
    5. Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & Melonie B. Williams, 2002. "Estimating Individual Discount Rates in Denmark: A Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1606-1617, December.
    6. S. Brock Blomberg & Thomas DeLeire & Gregory D. Hess, 2006. "The (After) Life-Cycle Theory of Religious Contributions," CESifo Working Paper Series 1854, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Hollander, Gideon & Kahana, Nava & Lecker, Tikva, 2003. "Religious and secular human capital: an economic model," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 489-498, November.
    8. Pablo BraÒas-Garza & Shoshana Neuman, 2004. "Analyzing Religiosity within an Economic Framework: The Case of Spanish Catholics," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 5-22, March.
    9. 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.
    10. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & García-Muñoz, Teresa & Neuman, Shoshana, 2008. "The Big Carrot: High Stake Incentives Revisited," IZA Discussion Papers 3287, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Ross Stolzenberg & Mary Blair-Loy & Linda J. Waite, "undated". "Religious Participation Over the Early Life Course: Age and Family Life Cycle Effects on Church Membership," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 94-14, Chicago - Population Research Center.
    12. Brown, Sarah & Taylor, Karl, 2007. "Religion and education: Evidence from the National Child Development Study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 439-460, July.
    13. Sander, William, 2002. "Religion and human capital," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 303-307, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Teresa Garcia-Munoz, 2010. "Incentives in religious performance: a stochastic dominance approach," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 5(3), pages 176-181, June.
    2. Pyne, Derek, 2013. "An afterlife capital model of religious choice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 32-44.

    More about this item


    Fear; death; anxiety; religion;

    JEL classification:

    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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