Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=923086
 
 

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Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself: Community Formation and the Church


Thomas DeLeire


Professor; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Thomas D. Jeitschko


Michigan State University - Department of Economics

Seamus O'Connell


Maynooth College - Faculty of Theology

Rowena Pecchenino


NUI Maynooth - Department of Economics

August 2, 2006


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 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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

Keywords: Economics of Religion, Spirituality, Community Formation, Coordination Failures

JEL Classification: I19

working papers series


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Date posted: August 8, 2006 ; Last revised: February 8, 2010

Suggested Citation

DeLeire, Thomas and Jeitschko, Thomas D. and O'Connell, Seamus and Pecchenino, Rowena, Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself: Community Formation and the Church (August 2, 2006). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=923086 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.923086

Contact Information

Thomas DeLeire
Professor ( email )
3600 N Street, NW Suite 200
Washington, DC 20057
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
Thomas D. Jeitschko
Michigan State University - Department of Economics ( email )
110 Marshall-Adams Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824
United States
517-355-8302 (Phone)
517-432-1068 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.msu.edu/~jeitschk/
Seamus O'Connell
Maynooth College - Faculty of Theology ( email )
2nd Floor
Iontas Building
Maynooth, County Kildare
Ireland
Rowena Pecchenino (Contact Author)
NUI Maynooth - Department of Economics ( email )
County Kildare
Ireland
35317083751 (Phone)
35317083934 (Fax)
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