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Food Abstention, Religious Observance & Prosocial Behavior: Evidence from Ramadan

Listed author(s):
  • Haruvy, Ernan
  • Ioannou, Christos A.
  • Golshirazi, Farnoush

Does food intake a ect prosocial behavior? Extant knowledge suggests that food intake increases prosocial behavior. But this may not be universally true, especially when religious fasting holidays are concerned. We investigate experimentally the impact of religious fasting in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan on prosocial behavior. Our sample consists of male factory workers in a manufacturing facility in Iran. Each worker is asked to allocate an amount of money between himself and a stranger. Strikingly, the e ect of food intake is reversed during the holy month of Ramadan. Workers who are in the midst of their Ramadan fast are far more generous to recipients than workers who have had their evening meal, and more generous than fasting and non-fasting workers outside Ramadan. Interestingly, workers who have had their evening meal during Ramadan are statistically indistinguishable from non-fasting workers outside of Ramadan. Our ndings suggest that it is the interaction of food abstention with the ritual of fasting and religious observance that ampli es prosocial behavior.

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Paper provided by Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton in its series Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics with number 1507.

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Date of creation: 05 Sep 2015
Handle: RePEc:stn:sotoec:1507
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  1. Filipe Campante & David Yanagizawa-Drott, 2013. "Does Religion Affect Economic Growth and Happiness? Evidence from Ramadan," CID Working Papers 274, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  2. Filipe Campante & David Yanagizawa-Drott, 2015. "Editor's Choice Does Religion Affect Economic Growth and Happiness? Evidence from Ramadan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(2), pages 615-658.
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