NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Do Religious Proscriptions Matter? Evidence from a Theory-Based Test

Daniel M. Hungerman

NBER Working Paper No. 17375
Issued in August 2011
NBER Program(s):Children, Health Economics, Public Economics

A large literature shows that religious participation is associated with a wide range of behaviors and outcomes, but what drives this association is unclear. On the one hand, this association may stem from correlations in preferences, where those with tastes for religion coincidentally have particular tastes for other behaviors as well. Alternately, religious participation may directly affect behavior; for example many religious organizations impose rules and proscriptions on their members and these rules may affect members' decisions. Using the canonical economic model of religiosity, I develop an empirical test to investigate the importance of religious proscriptions on behavior. Several empirical applications of this test are conducted; the results indicate a strong role for religious proscriptions in determining behavior. The test developed here does not require an instrumental variable for religion and could be applied to the study of criminal gangs, terrorist organizations, fraternities, communes, political groups, and other "social clubs."

download in pdf format
   (212 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17375

Do Religious Proscriptions Matter? Evidence from a Theory-Based Test,” forthcoming at the Journal of Human Resources citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Heckman w17378 Integrating Personality Psychology into Economics
Benjamin, Choi, and Fisher w15925 Religious Identity and Economic Behavior
Hungerman w16973 The Effect of Education on Religion: Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws
Hungerman w17589 Substitution and Stigma: Evidence on Religious Competition from the Catholic Sex-Abuse Scandal
Guiso, Sapienza, and Zingales w9237 People's Opium? Religion and Economic Attitudes
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us