Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance

No 118:
Rhetoric or Reality? An Economic Analysis of the Effects of Religion in Sweden

Niclas Berggren ()

Abstract: The present paper begins by outlining a theoretical, rational- choice approach to understanding how religious beliefs and affiliations might influence the behavior of individuals. This influence arises from an expectation that the god in question punishes certain forms of action and from social reprimands of devotees. In particular, four specific types of behavior are investigated: the divorce, abortion, non-payment, and children- born-out-of-wedlock rates. It is demonstrated why it is to be expected that Christian religious involvement discourages all of these activities. Regression analysis is then used to test the theory in the case of Sweden in the year 1990, and the importance of religion is strongly confirmed for all four types of behavior.

Keywords: Religion; rational choice; divorce; abortion; non-payment; children born out of wedlock; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: A13; D10; (follow links to similar papers)

27 pages, June 1996

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This paper is published as:
Berggren, Niclas, (1998), 'Rhetoric or Reality? An Economic Analysis of the Effects of Religion in Sweden', Journal of Socio-Economics, Vol. 26, No. 6, pages 571-596

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