Faith & Economics
NUMBER 55, Spring 2010
The Economics of Religion: Invest Now, Repent Later?
Laurence R. Iannaccone
What Do Markets Need?
Love They Neighbor as Thyself: Community Formation and the Church
Thomas DeLeire, Thomas D. Jeitschko, Seamus O’Connell, and Rowena A. Pecchenino
Abstract: The Church has played a central role in establishing and maintaining, as well as undermining, communities throughout history. We explore mechanisms through which it coordinates individual behaviors to achieve improvements in welfare, and reveal ways in which it can fail, causing communities to founder. In our model, inherently religious individuals may become trapped in a secular equilibrium that is strictly dominated by a religious equilibrium. The Church, via its teaching, clergy, and ministries, reveals the benefits, both in this world and in the world to come, of coordinated behavior and the costs of uncoordinated behavior in order to induce community members to take individually and socially beneficial actions. External forces (the state and secular society) and internal forces (doctrinal disputes, inconsistencies, and incoherence) reduce a Church’s ability to coordinate. Empirical analysis shows that the model’s core features and findings are largely consistent with recent U.S. data on Church attendance and tithing.
JEL: Z12, I19, H42
Keywords: Economics of Religion, Spirituality, Community Formation, Coordination Failures
Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History
by Douglas C. North, John Joseph Wallis, and Barry R. Weingast
Reviewed by Robert Whaples
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem
by Jay W. Richards
Reviewed by P.J. Hill
Global Neighbors: Christian Faith and Moral Obligations in Today’s Economy
by Douglas A. Hicks and Mark Valeri
Reviewed by Roland Hoksbergen
The Poor Will Be Glad: Joining the Revolution to Lift the World Out of Poverty
by Peter Greer and Phil Smith
Reviewed by Nate Peach