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Religiosity as a determinant of happiness


  • Opfinger, Matthias
  • Gundlach, Erich


We find a U-shaped relation between happiness and religiosity in cross-country panel data after controlling for income levels. At a given level of income, the same level of happiness can be reached with high and low levels of religiosity, but not with intermediate levels. A rise in income causes an increase in happiness along with a decline of religiosity. Our interpretation of the empirical results is that the indifference curves for religiosity and other commodities of the utility function are hump-shaped.

Suggested Citation

  • Opfinger, Matthias & Gundlach, Erich, 2011. "Religiosity as a determinant of happiness," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 48360, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkie:48360

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Matthias Opfinger, 2014. "‘United in Diversity’---Does Social Diversity Increase Subjective?," Research Papers in Economics 2014-10, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
    2. Owen, Ann L. & Handley-Miner, Isaac, 2015. "Race, Class, Gender, and the Happiness of College Students," MPRA Paper 67078, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Kenneth Harttgen & Matthias Opfinger, 2014. "National Identity and Religious Diversity," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 346-367, August.
    4. Falco, Chiara & Rotondi, Valentina, 2016. "The Less Extreme, the More You Leave: Radical Islam and Willingness to Migrate," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 122-133.
    5. repec:ssi:jouesi:v:4:y:2016:i:2:p:198-210 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Happiness; religiosity; utility function; long-run development;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development


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