IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version, 2012
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Trier, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2012-06.

in new window

Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:trr:wpaper:201206
Contact details of provider: Postal:
B IV, VWL, D-54286 Trier

Phone: +49 (0) 651 201-2739
Fax: +49 (0) 651 201-3934
Web page:

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.:

as in new window
  1. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," CESifo Working Paper Series 2394, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. 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.
  3. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
  4. Cantoni, Davide, 2013. "The Economic Effects of the Protestant Reformation: Testing the Weber Hypothesis in the German Lands," Discussion Papers in Economics 14811, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  6. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2007. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," CESifo Working Paper Series 1987, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. 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.
  8. Daniel W. Sacks & Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Subjective well-being, income, economic development and growth," Working Paper Series 2010-28, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  9. Lim, Chaeyoon & Putnam, Robert David, 2010. "Religion, Social Networks, and Life Satisfaction," Scholarly Articles 11105537, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  10. Andrew E. Clark & Orsolya Lelkes, 2005. "Deliver us from evil: religion as insurance," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590570, HAL.
  11. Leonard Dudley & Ulrich Blum, 2001. "Religion and economic growth: was Weber right?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 207-230.
  12. Liesbeth Snoep, 2008. "Religiousness and happiness in three nations: a research note," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 207-211, June.
  13. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1995. "Risk, Rationality, and Religious Portfolios," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(2), pages 285-95, April.
  14. Hayo, Bernd, 2007. "Happiness in transition: An empirical study on Eastern Europe," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 204-221, June.
  15. Orsolya Lelkes, 2002. "Tasting Freedom: Happiness, religion and economic transition," CASE Papers case59, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  16. BLUM, Ulrich & DUDLEY, Leonard, 2001. "Religion and Economic Growth: Was Weber Right?," Cahiers de recherche 2001-05, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  17. World Bank, 2010. "World Development Indicators 2010," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 4373.
  18. Paldam, Martin & Gundlach, Erich, 2009. "The religious transition: a long-run perspective," Kiel Working Papers 1576, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Andrew E. Clark & Orsolya Lelkes, 2009. "Let us pray: religious interactions in life satisfaction," PSE Working Papers halshs-00566120, HAL.
  22. James Peacock & Margaret Poloma, 1999. "Religiosity and Life Satisfaction Across the Life Course," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 319-343, November.
  23. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gallup_world_poll_jep_spring2008.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
  27. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gallup_world_poll_jep_spring2008 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:trr:wpaper:201206. 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: (Matthias Neuenkirch)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.