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The Economics of Religion, Jewish Survival and Jewish Attitudes Toward Competition in Torah Education


  • Dennis W. Carlton
  • Avi Weiss


This paper examines the attitude of Jewish law to competition in light of the economist's understanding of the benefits of competition and of the beneficiaries from intervention in the competitive process. The punchline of this paper is simple. Although Judaism has used a whole host of restrictions on competition and has had its share of legislation to promote private interests, there has been one area that has generally been a consistent exception to impediments to competition -- the teaching of Torah. This exception is all the more remarkable because those who were in a position to influence the legislation often stood to benefit from such restrictions. From this stress on teaching, we show that the foundation was laid for the survival and perpetuation of Judaism.

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  • Dennis W. Carlton & Avi Weiss, 2000. "The Economics of Religion, Jewish Survival and Jewish Attitudes Toward Competition in Torah Education," NBER Working Papers 7863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7863
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    1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
    2. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
    3. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
    4. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2005. "Jewish Occupational Selection: Education, Restrictions, or Minorities?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(04), pages 922-948, December.
    2. Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2002. "From Farmers to Merchants: A Human Capital Interpretation of Jewish Economic History," IZA Discussion Papers 670, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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