The Power of Religious Organizations in Human Decision Processes: Analyzing Voting Behavior

26 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2014

See all articles by Benno Torgler

Benno Torgler

Queensland University of Technology; CREMA; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

David Stadelmann

University of Bayreuth - Faculty of Law, Business and Economics; CREMA

Marco Portmann

University of Fribourg - Faculty of Economics and Social Science

Date Written: December 30, 2013

Abstract

In Switzerland, two key church institutions – the Conference of Swiss Bishops (CSB) and the Federation of Protestant Churches (FPC) – make public recommendations on how to vote for certain referenda. We leverage this unique situation to directly measure religious organizations’ power to shape human decision making. We employ an objective measure of voters’ commitment to their religious organization to determine whether they are more likely to vote in line with this organization’s recommendations. We find that voting recommendations do indeed matter, implying that even in a secularized world, religion plays a crucial role in voting decisions.

Keywords: power, religion, voting, referenda, trust, rules of thumb

JEL Classification: D030, D720, D830, H700

Suggested Citation

Torgler, Benno and Stadelmann, David and Portmann, Marco, The Power of Religious Organizations in Human Decision Processes: Analyzing Voting Behavior (December 30, 2013). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 4526. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2378249

Benno Torgler

Queensland University of Technology ( email )

GPO Box 2434
2 George Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4001
Australia

CREMA

Gellertstrasse 18
Basel
Zurich, CH 8006
Switzerland

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

David Stadelmann (Contact Author)

University of Bayreuth - Faculty of Law, Business and Economics ( email )

Universitätsstraße 30
Bayreuth, 95447
Germany

CREMA ( email )

Gellertstrasse 18
Basel
Zurich, CH 8006
Switzerland

Marco Portmann

University of Fribourg - Faculty of Economics and Social Science ( email )

Fribourg, CH 1700
Switzerland

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