Religion and Growth

72 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2023

See all articles by Sascha O. Becker

Sascha O. Becker

Monash University

Jared Rubin

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros College of Business and Economics

Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Date Written: 2023

Abstract

We use the elements of a macroeconomic production function—physical capital, human capital, labor, and technology—together with standard growth models to frame the role of religion in economic growth. Unifying a growing literature, we argue that religion can enhance or impinge upon economic growth through all four elements because it shapes individual preferences, societal norms, and institutions. Religion affects physical capital accumulation by influencing thrift and financial development. It affects human capital through both religious and secular education. It affects population and labor by influencing work effort, fertility, and the demographic transition. And it affects total factor productivity by constraining or unleashing technological change and through rituals, legal institutions, political economy, and conflict. Synthesizing a disjoint literature in this way opens many interesting directions for future research.

Keywords: religion, growth, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, preferences, norms, institutions, capital saving, financial development, human capital, education, population, labor, demography, fertility, total factor productivity, technological change, rituals, politica, technological change, rituals, political economy, conflict

JEL Classification: Z120, O400, N300, I250, O150

Suggested Citation

Becker, Sascha O. and Rubin, Jared and Woessmann, Ludger, Religion and Growth (2023). CESifo Working Paper No. 10688, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4608810 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4608810

Sascha O. Becker (Contact Author)

Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Jared Rubin

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros College of Business and Economics ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.jaredcrubin.com

Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research ( email )

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Munich
Germany
++49 89 9224 1699 (Phone)
++49 89 9224 1460 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cesifo.de/link/woessmann_l.htm

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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

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Munich, DE-81679
Germany

University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

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Munich, 80539
Germany

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