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Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam's Global Gathering

46 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2008 Last revised: 13 May 2008

David Clingingsmith

Case Western Reserve University

Asim Ijaz Khwaja

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies (CeRP); Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Michael Kremer

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Center for Global Development; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: April 2008

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Religion, Institutions, Social Interaction, Identity, Beliefs, Economics, Microeconomics, International Affairs/Globalization

JEL Classification: D74, D02, D83, Z12, Z13

Suggested Citation

Clingingsmith, David and Khwaja, Asim Ijaz and Kremer, Michael, Estimating the Impact of the Hajj: Religion and Tolerance in Islam's Global Gathering (April 2008). HKS Working Paper No. RWP08-022. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1124213 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1124213

David Lawrence Clingingsmith

Case Western Reserve University ( email )

Cleveland, OH 44106
United States

Asim Ijaz Khwaja (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies (CeRP) ( email )

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Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) ( email )

Duke University
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United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
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Michael R. Kremer

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Brookings Institution

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Center for Global Development

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Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

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United States

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