Why Churches Need Free-riders: Religious Capital Formation and Religious Group Survival
According to existing theory, religion thrives when groups overcome the free-rider problem in the production of religious goods. This paper explains, however, that allowing some free-riding is necessary in a dynamic setting. If an individual only contributes when she has high religious capital, and if capital only forms after exposure to the religious good, then a church must allow her to temporarily free-ride in order to turn her into a future contributor. Free-riders comprise a risky but necessary investment by the church. Strict churches screen out riskier investments yet still allow some free-riding. This explanation yields predictions consistent with the empirical evidence.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2007|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Irvine, CA 92697-3125|
Phone: (949) 824-5788
Web page: http://www.economics.uci.edu/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Tomer, John F., 2001. "Addictions are not rational: a socio-economic model of addictive behavior," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 243-261, May.
- Marc von der Ruhr, 2012.
"Examining megachurch growth: free riding, fit, and faith,"
International Journal of Social Economics,
Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 39(5), pages 357-372, April.
- von der Ruhr, Marc & Daniels, Joseph P., 2010. "Examining Megachurch Growth: Free Riding, Fit, and Faith," Working Papers and Research 2010-07, Marquette University, Center for Global and Economic Studies and Department of Economics.
- Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Simon Fan, C., 2008. "Religious participation and children's education: A social capital approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 303-317, February.
- 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.
- Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
- 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.
- Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
- Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)