Love Thy Neighbor: Religion and Prosocial Behavior

27 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2014

See all articles by Guido Heineck

Guido Heineck

University of Bamberg; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

There is a long tradition in psychology, the social sciences and, more recently though, economics to hypothesize that religion enhances prosocial behavior. Evidence from both survey and experimental data however yield mixed results and there is barely any evidence for Germany. This study adds to this literature by exploring data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), which provides both attitudinal (importance of helping others, of being socially active) and behavioral components of prosociality (volunteering, charitable giving and blood donations). Results from analyses that avoid issues of reverse causality suggest mainly for moderate, positive effects of individuals' religious involvement as measured by church affiliation and church attendance. Despite the historic divide in religion, results in West and East Germany do not differ substantially.

Keywords: religion, prosocial behavior, Germany

JEL Classification: D64, Z12, Z13

Suggested Citation

Heineck, Guido, Love Thy Neighbor: Religion and Prosocial Behavior. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8496. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2505358

Guido Heineck (Contact Author)

University of Bamberg

Feldkirchenstr. 21
Bamberg, 96052
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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