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Calvin's reformation in Geneva: self and social signalling

Levy, Gilat and Razin, Ronny (2014) Calvin's reformation in Geneva: self and social signalling. Journal of Public Economic Theory, 16 (5). pp. 730-742. ISSN 1097-3923

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Identification Number: 10.1111/jpet.12072


As Weber (1904) recognized, Calvinistic beliefs about predestination may constitute a powerful incentive for good works; an individual wishes to receive assurances about her future prospects of salvation, and good works may provide a positive signal about such prospects. These beliefs can in turn create a social pressure to behave well, as good works can also signal to others that individuals belong to the “elect” and are therefore likely to behave well in social interactions. Moreover, the Consistory, an institution created by Calvin to monitor and publicize individuals’ behaviour, can allow for such social signalling. We analyze these self and social signalling incentives, and show how religions affect levels of cooperation and coordination.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: Z - Other Special Topics > Z1 - Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology > Z12 - Religion
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2013 13:14
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2024 20:48
Projects: 210385
Funders: European Research Council

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