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Religious Identity and Economic Behavior

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  • Daniel J. Benjamin
  • James J. Choi
  • Geoffrey W. Fisher

Abstract

We randomly vary religious identity salience in laboratory subjects to test how identity salience contributes to six hypothesized links from prior literature between religious identity and economic behavior. We find that religious identity salience makes Protestants increase contributions to public goods. Catholics decrease contributions to public goods, expect others to contribute less to public goods, and become less risk averse. Jews more strongly reciprocate as an employee in a bilateral labor market gift-exchange game. We find no evidence of religious identity salience effects on disutility of work effort, discount rates, or generosity in a dictator game.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel J. Benjamin & James J. Choi & Geoffrey W. Fisher, 2010. "Religious Identity and Economic Behavior," NBER Working Papers 15925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15925
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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