A Theory of Liberal Churches
There is a counterintuitive gap in the club theory of religion. While it elegantly accounts for the notable success of strict sectarian religious groups in recruiting members and maintaining commitment, it exhibits less satisfactory properties when used to account for groups requiring neither extreme nor zero sacrifice. Such corner solutions, compared to the moderate middle, are rarely observed empirically. Within the original representative agent model, moderate groups are everywhere and always a suboptimal choice for rational, utility maximizing agents. In this paper, we extend the original model to operate within a multi-agent computational context, with heterogeneous agents occupying coordinates in a two dimensional lattice, making repeated decisions over time. Our model offers the possibility of successful moderate groups, including outcomes wherein the population is dominated by moderate groups. The viability of moderate groups is a result of heterogeneous agent wages. Lower wage agents offer greater time contributions, but lesser financial contributions to groups. Higher sacrifice rates incentive greater contributions from members, but reduce private productivity and screen out other potential members with greater financial resources. Moderate groups succeed by offering an optimal balance of these countervailing forces.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2010|
|Date of revision:||Feb 2010|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Towson, Maryland 21252-0001|
Web page: http://www.towson.edu/cbe/departments/economics/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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 271-91, April.
- Eli Berman, 2000.
"Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 905-953.
- Eli Berman, 1998. "Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews," NBER Working Papers 6715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
- Oliver E. Williamson, 2002. "The Theory of the Firm as Governance Structure: From Choice to Contract," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 171-195, Summer.
- Lanse Minkler & Metin Cosgel, 2004.
"Religious Identity and Consumption,"
2004-03, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- Hungerman, Daniel M., 2009. "Crowd-out and diversity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 729-740, June.
- Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tow:wpaper:2010-04. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Juergen Jung)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.