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Economics, religion, and culture: A brief introduction

Chen, Daniel L. and Hungerman, Daniel (2014) Economics, religion, and culture: A brief introduction. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 104. pp. 1-3.

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In this introduction we will avoid laboring over a definition of the “Economics of Religion & Culture,” but this will not stop us from arguing that it is a burgeoning area of research. Work focusing on religious practice and related cultural issues dates back at least to Adam Smith, but until the 1990s there had been little published by mainstream economists in this area. Recently, however, a variety of subfields in economics have taken up work here.

The JEL classification code system includes a designation for papers on religion (Z12), and the American Economic Association (via EconLit) keeps track of the number of journal articles published under this section of the code. In Fig. 1, we show the number of papers published in this area in recent years. As the picture shows, there has been a sixfold increase in the total number of papers published in this area over the past decade, including a number of truly excellent works. Some of the topics considered here include: studies of how public policy affects attitudes and beliefs, studies on the lasting economic implications of historic cultural institutions, work on religious schooling versus secular schooling, investigations of faith-based social-service provision, work on violence and religious extremism, analyses of religious donations, and research on the connection between beliefs (such as religious beliefs) and behaviors.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: August 2014
Refereed: Yes
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2016 14:58
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2018 13:23
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