Religiosity as a Determinant of Happiness

GIGA Working Paper No 163

26 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2012

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 1, 2011


We find a U‐shaped relation between happiness and religiosity in cross‐country panel data after controlling for income levels. At a given level of income, the same level of happiness can be reached with high and low levels of religiosity, but not with intermediate levels. A rise in income causes an increase in happiness along with a decline of religiosity. Our interpretation of the empirical results is that the indifference curves for religiosity and other commodities of the utility function are hump‐shaped.

Keywords: Happiness, religiosity, utility function, long-run development

JEL Classification: I31, Z12, O11

Suggested Citation

Gundlach, Erich and Opfinger, Matthias, Religiosity as a Determinant of Happiness (April 1, 2011). GIGA Working Paper No 163. Available at SSRN: or

Erich Gundlach (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg ( email )

Department of Economics
Von-Melle-Park 5
Hamburg, 20146
+49 40 428384589 (Phone)


Matthias Opfinger

University of Trier ( email )

15, Universitaetsring
Trier, 54286

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