Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 25, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412979290 | Print ISBN: 9781412961424 | Online ISBN: 9781412979290| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this handbook
Chapter 76: Economics and Religion
Carmel U. Chiswick
Economics and religion The last two decades of the twentieth century saw an explosion of empirical as well as theoretical research into the relationship between religion and economic behavior. For the most part, this research ignores theological differences, focusing instead on behavioral differences associated with different religious identities. The causation runs both ways: Some studies analyze the effects of religious identity on various economic activities, and others analyze the effects of economic incentives on religious observances and institutions. Both of these lines of research have yielded strong results and have dramatically affected our understanding of the relationship between economics and religion. Prices and incomes are powerful incentives that invariably influence the actions of individuals, and the human capacity for creative rationalization contributes to the widespread evasion of costly behaviors, including costly religious strictures. Before economics became a modern social science, casual observation generated many stereotypes about differences between religious groups ...