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Is the Hand of God Involved in Human Cooperation? An Experimental Examination of the Supernatural Punishment Theory

Author

Listed:
  • Ahmed, Ali

    () (Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO))

  • Salas, Osvaldo

    () (Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO))

Abstract

This paper examines the supernatural punishment theory. The theory postulates that religion increases cooperation because religious people fear the retributions that may follow if they do not follow the rules and norms provided by the religion. We report results for a public goods experiment conducted in India, Mexico, and Sweden. By asking participants whether they are religious or not, we study whether religiosity has an effect on voluntary cooperation in the public goods game. We found no significant behavioral differences between religious and nonreligious participants in the experiment.

Suggested Citation

  • Ahmed, Ali & Salas, Osvaldo, 2008. "Is the Hand of God Involved in Human Cooperation? An Experimental Examination of the Supernatural Punishment Theory," CAFO Working Papers 2009:1, Linnaeus University, Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO), School of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:vxcafo:2009_001
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Do religious people voluntary cooperate more?
      by Ariel Goldring in Free Market Mojo on 2010-07-23 17:12:01
    2. Religion and Human Rights (30): Religion, Charity and Cooperation
      by Filip Spagnoli in P.A.P.-Blog on 2010-10-20 22:36:45

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Games; Punishment theory; Experiments; Behavioural Economics; Religion;

    JEL classification:

    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles

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