Introduction to the Economics of Religion [Iannaccone]
Laurence R. Iannaccone
Journal of Economic Literature, 1998
Abstract: With two centuries separating its first and second publications, there is no denying that the economics of religion got off to a slow start. Yet despite this leisurely launch, dozens of economists (and several sociologists) have now picked up where Adam Smith ((1776) 1965) and Corry Azzi and Ronald Ehrenberg (1975) left off. Armed with the tools of economic theory and a large body of data, they have written nearly 200 papers concerning issues that were previously confined to other social sciences—the determinants of religious belief and behavior, the nature of religious institutions, and the social and economic impact of religion. If the study of religion does not yet warrant a classification number, let alone the subfield status that it enjoys within every other social science, it nevertheless qualifies as new territory within the expanding domain of economics.