FAITH & ECONOMICS
NUMBER 65, SPRING 2015
Game Theory in Christian Perspective
Abstract: Game theory has had an enormous impact on the social sciences, and economics in particular. A Christian user of game theory should be at least as aware as any other user of its assumptions and limitations. In particular, he or she should be wary of the ethical stance taken in most practical applications of game theory, which is almost uniformly consequentialist, and most often utilitarian. However, so long as these limitations are understood, there is no objection in principle to the tools and concepts of game theory being used from a Christian point of view. They may even be used for explicitly Christian social or economic analysis, and this paper will conclude with some examples of how this might be done.
JEL Codes: C17, Z12, A13.
Victor V. Claar and Colleen E. Haight
Abstract: This paper extends the existing literature on fair trade by incorporating the latest empirical analyses as well as responding to recent claims that even if fair trade is deemed to be an inefficient or ineffective tool toward poverty alleviation, there may nevertheless be other compelling reasons to retain either the fair trade model or the fair trade label. The analysis contrasts the alternative trade organization (ATO) model of fair trade with the commodity-based Fairtrade International (FLO) model, and also discusses the recent departure of Fair Trade USA from the FLO. We conclude that commodity-based fair trade initiatives are simply not worth their opportunity cost.
JEL Codes: F13, I38, O15, O19. Keywords: fair trade, economic development, poverty, trade, exports
Households Giving to Religion vs. Households Not Giving to Religion: Are Their Household Characteristics and Expenditure Patterns Different?
Vince E. Showers, Linda S. Showers, Hulda G. Black, Jeri M. Beggs, and James E. Cox, Jr.
Abstract: This study examines differences in expenditure patterns and characteristics of households giving to religion (religiously committed households) versus households not giving to religion. In addition, expenditure patterns and demographic characteristics are examined among religious givers based on four categories of percent of income given to religion. A permanent income measure represents households’ perceived incomes and controls for large income variations and skewness. Descriptive statistics and parametric and nonparametric statistical tests are used to examine differences among households. Significant differences in demographics are found among households at different levels of giving to religion. Also, per dollar of income spent on tobacco and alcohol, as well as health and life insurance expenditures, differ between households giving to religion and households not giving to religion. No differences in percent of income spent are found between these two groups for “pleasure” and “necessity” items. Households with the highest percent of income given to religion give more to charities compared to households not giving to religion. This study offers significant evidence of the impact of faith on marketplace behavior, especially in charitable giving and family health and welfare.
JEL Codes: D12, E21, Z12. Keywords: Religiosity, household expenditures, household characteristics, CEX data, permanent income hypothesis.
The Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics
Paul Oslington (Ed.)
Reviewed by Andy Hartropp
Out of Poverty: Sweatshops in the Global Economy
Reviewed by Sarah M. Estelle
Economic Growth: Unleashing the Potential of Human Flourishing
Edd S. Noell, Stephen L. S. Smith, and Bruce G. Webb
Reviewed by Charles M. North
Christian Economic Ethics: History and Implications
Daniel K. Finn
Reviewed by Robin Klay
Stories Economists Tell: Studies in Christianity and Economics
Reviewed by Michael A. Anderson
For the Least of These: A Biblical Answer to Poverty
Anne Bradley and Art Lindsley (Eds.)
Reviewed by Nathanael D. Peach
Bootleggers and Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory Politics
Adam Smith and Bruce Yandle
Reviewed by Brian Baugus