Monday, 23 November 2009

Religious identity and economic behaviour

A new study on Religious Identity and Economic Behavior by Daniel J. Benjamin, James J. Choi and Geoffrey Fisher finds that Protestants were more likely than Jews or Catholics to contribute money to a public pool. The Protestants also worked hardest for wages in a labour market game.

The paper's abstract reads,
We identify the marginal effect of religious identity on economic choices by measuring how laboratory subjects’ choices change when their religious identity is made salient to them. We find that Protestantism increases contributions to public goods, and there is suggestive evidence that it increases reciprocity in a labor market gift-exchange game. Catholicism decreases contributions to public goods, increases reciprocity, and decreases risk aversion. Judaism increases reciprocity. We find no evidence of religious identity effects on discount rates or generosity in a dictator game
God knows what it all really means.

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