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The Power of Religious Organizations in Human Decision Processes: Analyzing Voting Behavior

Author

Listed:
  • Benno Torgler
  • Davis Stadelmann
  • Marco Portmann

Abstract

In Switzerland, two key church institutions - the Conference of Swiss Bishops (CSB) and the Federation of Protestant Churches (FPC) - make public recommendations on how to vote for certain referenda. We leverage this unique situation to directly measure religious organizations' power to shape human decision making. We employ an objective measure of voters' commitment to their religious organization to determine whether they are more likely to vote in line with this organization's recommendations. We find that voting recommendations do indeed matter, implying that even in a secularized world, religion plays a crucial role in voting decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Benno Torgler & Davis Stadelmann & Marco Portmann, 2013. "The Power of Religious Organizations in Human Decision Processes: Analyzing Voting Behavior," QuBE Working Papers 023, QUT Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:qut:qubewp:wp023
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    File URL: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/QuBEWorkingPapers/2013/VotingReligion.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2013. "Quantifying parliamentary representation of constituents’ preferences with quasi-experimental data," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 170-180.
    2. Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Are Voters Better Informed When They Have a Larger Say in Politics? -- Evidence for the European Union and Switzerland," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 31-59, April.
    3. David Stadelmann & Benno Torgler, 2012. "Bounded Rationality and Voting Decisions Exploring a 160-Year Period," Working Papers 2012.70, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8769.
    5. Frey, Bruno S, 1994. "Direct Democracy: Politico-economic Lessons from Swiss Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 338-342, May.
    6. Friedrich Schneider & Jörg Naumann, 1982. "Interest groups in democracies — How influential are they?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 281-303, January.
    7. Torgler, Benno, 2006. "The importance of faith: Tax morale and religiosity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 81-109, September.
    8. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
    9. Lindert Peter H., 1994. "The Rise of Social Spending, 1880-1930," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-37, January.
    10. Feld, Lars P. & Kirchgassner, Gebhard, 2000. "Direct democracy, political culture, and the outcome of economic policy: a report on the Swiss experience," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 287-306, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2015. "Behavioral political economy: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 395-417.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Power; religion; voting; referenda; trust; rules of thumb;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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