Does It Pay To Pray? Evaluating the Economic Return to Religious Ritual
Time-consuming and costly religious rituals pose a puzzle for economists committed to rational choice theories of human behavior. We propose that religious rituals promote in-group trust and cooperation that help to overcome collective-action problems. We test this hypothesis on communal societies for whom mutual cooperation is a matter of survival. We design field experiments to measure the in-group cooperative behavior of members of religious and secular Israeli kibbutzim. Our results show that religious males (the primary practitioners of collective religious ritual in Orthodox Judaism) are more cooperative than religious females, secular males and secular females. Moreover, the frequency with which religious males engage in collective religious rituals predicts well their degree of cooperative behavior. We use our results to understand differences in the return to religious observance in capitalist and developing economies.
|Date of creation:||18 Sep 2003|
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- Bradley J. Ruffle & Richard H. Sosis, 2003.
"Cooperation and the In-Group-Out-Group Bias: A Field Test on Israeli Kibbutz Members and City Residents,"
- Ruffle, Bradley J. & Sosis, Richard, 2006. "Cooperation and the in-group-out-group bias: A field test on Israeli kibbutz members and city residents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 147-163, June.
- Bradley Ruffle & Richard Sosis, 2006. "Cooperation and the in-group-out-group bias: A field test on israeli kibbutz members and city residents," Artefactual Field Experiments 00104, The Field Experiments Website.
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- Bradley Ruffle & Richard Sosis, 2003. "Religious ritual and cooperation: Testing for a relationship on israeli religious and secular kibbutzim," Artefactual Field Experiments 00103, The Field Experiments Website.
- Nash, John, 1953. "Two-Person Cooperative Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 21(1), pages 128-140, April.
- repec:tpr:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:3:p:905-953 is not listed on IDEAS
- 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.
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