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Schwerpunktseminar Religion and Economic Outcomes: A Micro and Macroeconomic Perspective

Dr. Francesco Cinnirella 

Philipp Lergetporer, PhD

Blocked seminar 28-29 January, 2016 at Ifo Institute, Winter Semester 2015/2016 (for Bachelor)


Despite the widespread perception that religious doctrine is incompatible with scientific inquiry, religion itself has come under close scientific scrutiny lately. Over the past decades, economists have increasingly focused on the causes and economically relevant consequences of religious beliefs.

In this seminar, we provide an overview over the most recent economic literature on the connection between religion and micro as well as macroeconomic outcomes. In particular, we will discuss two main questions:

1. What are the causal effects of religion on individual behavior?”

In order to answer this question, we will discuss experimental studies which investigate the causal effects of religion on individual preferences such as risk preferences, cooperative behavior, altruism or the inclination to save. These causal effects of religion give rise to the second question investigated in this seminar.

2. What is the role of religion in economic growth?

To answer this question, we will analyze studies that investigate the causal effects of religious denomination on economic outcomes such as investments in education, innovation, and entrepreneurship. We will also discuss the possible determinants of religiosity. Most of these studies will be based on differences across countries. The role of religion in economic growth will be also considered in historical perspective.

Prerequisites: Students will be confronted with econometric techniques used to identify causal effects. Therefore, interest in econometric topics is a prerequisite for attending the seminar.