Selecting (In) and Crowding Out: Experimental Evidence of the Power of Religious Authority in Afghanistan

53 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2015  

Luke Condra

University of Pittsburgh

Mohammad Isaqzadeh

American University of Afghanistan

Sera Linardi

University of Pittsburgh

Date Written: July 24, 2015

Abstract

We unpack the psychological influence of a Muslim cleric’s power over the poor in an experiment in Afghanistan. The same cleric requests contributions for a hospital from day-laborers when dressed as a civilian and as a cleric. In Civilian condition, 50% contribute and 17% make large contributions; in Cleric condition, 83% contribute but large contributions fall. Through counterfactual simulations, we find that the clerical garb compels unmotivated subjects to contribute (selection), but causes those who initially were generous to reduce their contribution (crowding out). The backlash is present only among those with formal education but is counteracted when the cleric adds a recitation of Qur’anic verses. Overall, this suggests that education mediates whether people automatically associate religious authorities with the omnipresent.

Keywords: charitable giving, crowding out, prosocial behavior, religion, control, authority

JEL Classification: D03, C93, L3, Z12

Suggested Citation

Condra, Luke and Isaqzadeh, Mohammad and Linardi, Sera, Selecting (In) and Crowding Out: Experimental Evidence of the Power of Religious Authority in Afghanistan (July 24, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2659840 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2659840

Luke Condra

University of Pittsburgh ( email )

Mohammad Isaqzadeh

American University of Afghanistan ( email )

Darul Aman Road
Kabul, Kabul
Afghanistan

Sera Linardi (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

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