Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam's Global Gathering
Case Western Reserve University
Asim Ijaz Khwaja
Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)
Michael R. Kremer
Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Center for Global Development
HKS Working Paper No. RWP08-022
We estimate the impact on pilgrims of performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Our method compares successful and unsuccessful applicants in a lottery used by Pakistan to allocate Hajj visas. Pilgrim accounts stress that the Hajj leads to a feeling of unity with fellow Muslims, but outsiders have sometimes feared that this could be accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. We find that participation in the Hajj increases observance of global Islamic practices such as prayer and fasting while decreasing participation in localized practices and beliefs such as the use of amulets and dowry. It increases belief in equality and harmony among ethnic groups and Islamic sects and leads to more favorable attitudes toward women, including greater acceptance of female education and employment. Increased unity within the Islamic world is not accompanied by antipathy toward non-Muslims. Instead, Hajjis show increased belief in peace, and in equality and harmony among adherents of different religions. The evidence suggests that these changes are more a result of exposure to and interaction with Hajjis from around the world, rather than religious instruction or a changed social role of pilgrims upon return.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 46
Keywords: Religion, Institutions, Social Interaction, Identity, Beliefs, Economics, Microeconomics, International Affairs/Globalization
JEL Classification: D74, D02, D83, Z12, Z13
Date posted: April 23, 2008 ; Last revised: May 13, 2008
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