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Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: an Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews


Eli Berman


University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ruth Klinov


Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics

August 1998

NBER Working Paper No. w6715

Abstract:     
The Israeli Ultra-Orthodox population doubles each seventeen years. With 60 % of prime aged males attending Yeshiva rather than working, that community is rapidly outgrowing its resources. Why do fathers with families in poverty choose Yeshiva over work? Draft deferments subsidize Yeshiva attendance, yet attendance typically continues long after they are draft exempt. We explain this puzzle with a club good model in which Yeshiva attendance signals commitment to the community. Subsidizing membership in a club with sacrifice as an entry requirement induces increased sacrifice, compounding the distortion and dissipating the subsidy. Policies treating members and potential entrants equally are Pareto improving. The analysis may generalize to other by increasing the stringency of prohibitions and sacrifice.

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Date posted: September 20, 2000  

Suggested Citation

Berman, Eli and Klinov, Ruth, Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: an Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews (August 1998). NBER Working Paper No. w6715. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=226369

Contact Information

Eli Berman (Contact Author)
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics ( email )
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States
858-534-2858 (Phone)
858-534-7040 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Ruth Klinov
Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )
Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
972-2-588-3140 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://micro5.mscc.huji.ac.il/~economics/facultye/klinov/klinov.html
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