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Being religious - A Question of Incentives?


  • Anja Klaubert

    () (Institute of Economics, University of Lüneburg)


Studies of the relationship between religion and economics can be divided into three major lines of research: behavioural economics of religion (microeconomic approach), macroeconomic consequences of religion and religious explanations of economic phenomena. Except for the third line strong evidence has been found on the microeconomic level of individuals and households that economic behaviour and outcome correlate with religion. Furthermore the role of religion on the macroeconomic level, e.g. the impact on economic growth, has been analyzed, too. However, only a few models integrating these two levels exist. In order to exemplify such an integrated model, the first step of the analysis has to be the examination of the decisions taken on the microeconomic level. For this purpose this paper focuses on rational incentives to be religious and to take part in religious activities without taking into account the benefits derived from religious believes itself.

Suggested Citation

  • Anja Klaubert, 2009. "Being religious - A Question of Incentives?," Working Paper Series in Economics 118, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lue:wpaper:118

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vikas Kumar, 2008. "A Critical review of economic analyses of religion," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2008-023, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    2. Gruber Jonathan H, 2005. "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-32, September.
    3. Dirk Sliwka, 2007. "Trust as a Signal of a Social Norm and the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 999-1012, June.
    4. Bradley J. Ruffle & Richard H. Sosis, 2003. "Does It Pay To Pray? Evaluating the Economic Return to Religious Ritual," Experimental 0309002, EconWPA.
    5. 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.
    6. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
    7. Matthias Helble, 2007. "Is God Good for Trade?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 385-413, August.
    8. 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.
    9. Klick, Jonathan, 2006. "Salvation as a selective incentive," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 15-32, March.
    10. Jonathan Gruber, 2005. "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?," NBER Working Papers 11377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item


    religion; incentives; individual religiosity;

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics
    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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