NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Religious Identity and Economic Behavior

Daniel J. Benjamin, James J. Choi, Geoffrey W. Fisher

NBER Working Paper No. 15925
Issued in April 2010
NBER Program(s):   AP   LS   POL

We randomly vary religious identity salience in laboratory subjects to test how identity salience contributes to six hypothesized links from prior literature between religious identity and economic behavior. We find that religious identity salience makes Protestants increase contributions to public goods. Catholics decrease contributions to public goods, expect others to contribute less to public goods, and become less risk averse. Jews more strongly reciprocate as an employee in a bilateral labor market gift-exchange game. We find no evidence of religious identity salience effects on disutility of work effort, discount rates, or generosity in a dictator game.

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This paper was revised on January 31, 2012

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15925

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