Religion and economic preferences

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter provides an overview of the literature on the relationship between religion and economic preferences. It first discusses two dimensions of religiosity conceptualized in the literature, viz., believing and belonging, and how they may differently relate to economic preferences. While believing relates to the private aspects of religion as captured by a person’s degree of belief in God and other religious concepts, belonging captures the aspects of being affiliated to a group of people sharing such beliefs. It then considers different research approaches in the literature, distinguishing between those approaches that aim to identify a causal link from religious belief or affiliation to preferences and those that can only identify associations. In the following, it then reviews in detail the empirical evidence regarding the relationship between religiosity and a set of economic preferences, namely, risk attitudes, time preferences, social preferences, honesty, and attitudes toward markets and competition. In the discussion of the evidence, it relates to the aforementioned distinction between believing and belonging, as well as distinguishing between the causal and correlational research approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Labor, Human Resources and Population Economics
EditorsKlaus Zimmermann
Place of PublicationCham
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-57365-6
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Feb 2022


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