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Effects of Religiosity on Social Behaviour: Experimental Evidence from a Representative Sample of Spaniards

Author

Listed:
  • Brañas-Garza, Pablo

    () (Middlesex University Business School, London)

  • Espín, Antonio M.

    () (Universidad de Granada)

  • Neuman, Shoshana

    () (Bar-Ilan University)

Abstract

This study explores the effect of several personal religion-related variables on social behaviour, using three paradigmatic economic games: the dictator (DG), ultimatum (UG), and trust (TG) games. A large carefully designed sample of a Spanish urban adult population (N=766) is employed. From participants' decisions in these games we obtain measures of altruism, bargaining behaviour and sense of fairness/equality, trust, and positive reciprocity. Three dimensions of religiosity are examined: (i) religious denomination; (ii) the intensity of religiosity, measured by active participation at church services; and (iii) converting out into a different denomination than the one raised in. The major results are: (i) individuals with "no religion" made decisions closer to rational selfish behaviour in the DG and the UG compared to those who affiliate with a "standard" religious denomination; (ii) among Catholics, intensity of religiosity is the key variable that affects social behaviour insofar as religiously-active individuals are generally more pro-social than non-active ones; and (iii) the religion raised in seems to have no effect on pro-sociality, beyond the effect of the current measures of religiosity. Importantly, behaviour in the TG is not predicted by any of the religion-related variables we analyse. Given the accelerating share of "no religion" individuals (in Europe and elsewhere) and the large influx of immigrants – who tend to be more religiously active compared to the native populations – our findings have significant implications for the future pro-sociality patterns in Europe.

Suggested Citation

  • Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Espín, Antonio M. & Neuman, Shoshana, 2013. "Effects of Religiosity on Social Behaviour: Experimental Evidence from a Representative Sample of Spaniards," IZA Discussion Papers 7683, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7683
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. M. Niaz Asadullah, 2017. "Who Trusts Others? Community and Individual Determinants of Social Capital in a Low-Income Country," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(2), pages 515-544.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    church attendance; religion; economic experiments; pro-social behaviour; Spain;

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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