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Love Thy Neighbor: Religion and Prosocial Behavior

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  • Heineck, Guido

    () (University of Bamberg)

Abstract

There is a long tradition in psychology, the social sciences and, more recently though, economics to hypothesize that religion enhances prosocial behavior. Evidence from both survey and experimental data however yield mixed results and there is barely any evidence for Germany. This study adds to this literature by exploring data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), which provides both attitudinal (importance of helping others, of being socially active) and behavioral components of prosociality (volunteering, charitable giving and blood donations). Results from analyses that avoid issues of reverse causality suggest mainly for moderate, positive effects of individuals' religious involvement as measured by church affiliation and church attendance. Despite the historic divide in religion, results in West and East Germany do not differ substantially.

Suggested Citation

  • Heineck, Guido, 2014. "Love Thy Neighbor: Religion and Prosocial Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 8496, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8496
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    Cited by:

    1. Lena Dräger & Christian R. Proaño, 2015. "Cross-Border Banking and Business Cycles in Asymmetric Currency Unions," Macroeconomics and Finance Series 201501, University of Hamburg, Department of Socioeconomics.
    2. Herold, Florian & Kuzmics, Christoph, 2016. "The evolution of taking roles," BERG Working Paper Series 115, Bamberg University, Bamberg Economic Research Group.
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    9. Fatoke Dato, Mafaizath A., 2015. "Impact of income shock on children’s schooling and labor in a West African country," MPRA Paper 64317, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    16. Sahm, Marco, 2017. "Risk aversion and prudence in contests," BERG Working Paper Series 120, Bamberg University, Bamberg Economic Research Group.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Germany; prosocial behavior; religion;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • 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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