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Religious beliefs, religious participation, and cooperation

Levy, Gilat and Razin, Ronny (2012) Religious beliefs, religious participation, and cooperation. American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 4 (3). pp. 121-151. ISSN 1945-7669

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Identification Number: 10.1257/mic.4.3.121


We analyze the relation between religious beliefs, religious participation, and social cooperation. We focus on religions that instill beliefs about the connection between rewards and punishments and social behavior. We show how religious organizations arise endogenously, and identify a "spiritual" as well as a "material" payoff for being religious. We show that religious groups that are more demanding in their rituals are smaller, more cohesive, and are composed of individuals with more "extreme" beliefs. We use our framework to analyze the response of beliefs and religious membership to correlated shocks in society, such as natural disasters or periods of prosperity.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 American Economic Association
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D1 - Household Behavior and Family Economics > D12 - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D - Microeconomics > D8 - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty > D83 - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief
Z - Other Special Topics > Z1 - Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology > Z12 - Religion
Z - Other Special Topics > Z1 - Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology > Z13 - Social Norms and Social Capital; Social Networks
Sets: Departments > Economics
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2012 14:29
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2020 01:39

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