We analyze the relation between religious beliefs, religious participation, and social cooperation. We focus on religions that instill beliefs about the connection between rewards and punishments and social
behavior. We show how religious organizations arise endogenously, and identify a "spiritual" as well as a "material" payoff for being religious. We show that religious groups that are more demanding in their rituals are smaller, more cohesive, and are composed of individuals with more "extreme" beliefs. We use our framework to analyze the response of beliefs and religious membership to correlated
shocks in society, such as natural disasters or periods of prosperity.
(JEL D12, D83, Z12, Z13)
"Religious Beliefs, Religious Participation, and Cooperation."
American Economic Journal: Microeconomics,
Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief
Cultural Economics: Religion
Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification