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Religiosity as a determinant of happiness

  • Erich Gundlach
  • Matthias Opfinger

The empirical relation between happiness and religiosity is considered from the perspective of basic utility theory. An unbalanced cross-country panel data set is used to study whether religiosity can be considered as a substitute in the happiness function, which itself is held to be a proxy for the utility function. We find that the same level of happiness can be maintained with high and low levels of religiosity due to substitution along a standard indifference curve. Our empirical results are consistent with three stylized facts of the empirical literature, namely a positive correlation between happiness and religiosity, a positive correlation between happiness and income, and a negative correlation between religiosity and income.

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File URL: http://www.uni-trier.de/fileadmin/fb4/prof/VWL/EWF/Research_Papers/2012-06.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Paper provided by University of Trier, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2012-06.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:trr:wpaper:201206
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Web page: http://www.uni-trier.de/index.php?id=2118

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  1. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 531-596, May.
  2. Opfinger, Matthias, 2011. "Religious Market Theory vs. Secularization: The Role of Religious Diversity Revisited," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-475, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  3. Daniel W. Sacks & Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Subjective Well-Being, Income, Economic Development and Growth," NBER Working Papers 16441, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Liesbeth Snoep, 2008. "Religiousness and happiness in three nations: a research note," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 207-211, June.
  8. Ben S. Bernanke & Refet S. Gurkaynak, 2001. "Is Growth Exogenous? Taking Mankiw, Romer and Weil Seriously," NBER Working Papers 8365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hayo, Bernd, 2007. "Happiness in transition: An empirical study on Eastern Europe," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 204-221, June.
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  11. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
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  13. Lim, Chaeyoon & Putnam, Robert David, 2010. "Religion, Social Networks, and Life Satisfaction," Scholarly Articles 11105537, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
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  17. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
  18. Erich Gundlach & Martin Paldam, 2010. "The Religious Transition. A Long-run Perspective," DEGIT Conference Papers c015_039, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  19. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Income, Health, and Well-Being around the World: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 53-72, Spring.
  20. Davide Cantoni, 2010. "The Economic Effects of the Protestant Reformation: Testing the Weber Hypothesis in the German Lands," Working Papers 524, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
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  22. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1995. "Risk, Rationality, and Religious Portfolios," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(2), pages 285-95, April.
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  25. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
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