Effects of Religiosity on Social Behaviour: Experimental Evidence from a Representative Sample of Spaniards

31 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2013

See all articles by Pablo Brañas-Garza

Pablo Brañas-Garza

Universidad Loyola Andalucia

Antonio Espín

University of Granada

Shoshana Neuman

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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This study explores the effect of several personal religion-related variables on social behaviour, using three paradigmatic economic games: the dictator (DG), ultimatum (UG), and trust (TG) games. A large carefully designed sample of a Spanish urban adult population (N=766) is employed. From participants' decisions in these games we obtain measures of altruism, bargaining behaviour and sense of fairness/equality, trust, and positive reciprocity. Three dimensions of religiosity are examined: (i) religious denomination; (ii) the intensity of religiosity, measured by active participation at church services; and (iii) converting out into a different denomination than the one raised in.The major results are: (i) individuals with "no religion" made decisions closer to rational selfish behaviour in the DG and the UG compared to those who affiliate with a "standard" religious denomination; (ii) among Catholics, intensity of religiosity is the key variable that affects social behaviour insofar as religiously-active individuals are generally more pro-social than non-active ones; and (iii) the religion raised in seems to have no effect on pro-sociality, beyond the effect of the current measures of religiosity. Importantly, behaviour in the TG is not predicted by any of the religion-related variables we analyse. Given the accelerating share of "no religion" individuals (in Europe and elsewhere) and the large influx of immigrants – who tend to be more religiously active compared to the native populations – our findings have significant implications for the future pro-sociality patterns in Europe.

Keywords: church attendance, religion, economic experiments, pro-social behaviour, Spain

JEL Classification: C7, C9, Z12, Z13

Suggested Citation

Brañas-Garza, Pablo and Espín, Antonio and Neuman, Shoshana, Effects of Religiosity on Social Behaviour: Experimental Evidence from a Representative Sample of Spaniards. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7683, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2345600

Pablo Brañas-Garza (Contact Author)

Universidad Loyola Andalucia ( email )

c/ Escritor Castilla Aguayo
Córdoba, 14004

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/pablobranasgarza/home

Antonio Espín

University of Granada ( email )

Campus de Cartuja S/N
Granada, Granada 18071

Shoshana Neuman

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics ( email )

Ramat-Gan, 52900
+972 3 531 8393 (Phone)
+972 3 535 3180 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

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