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Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO), School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University CAFO Working Papers, Centre for Labour Market Policy Research (CAFO), School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University

No 2008:1:
IS THE HAND OF GOD INVOLVED IN HUMAN COOPERATION?AN EXPERIMENTAL EXAMINATION OF THE SUPERNATURAL PUNISHMENT THEORY

Ali M. Ahmed () and Osvaldo Salas ()

Abstract: This paper examines the supernatural punishment theory. The theory postulates that religion increases cooperation because religious people fear the retributions that may follow if they do not follow the rules and norms provided by the religion. We report results for a public goods experiment conducted in India, Mexico, and Sweden. By asking participants whether they are religious or not, we study whether religiosity has an effect on voluntary cooperation in the public goods game. We found no significant behavioral differences between religious and nonreligious participants in the experiment.

Keywords: Games; punishment theory; experiments; behavioral economics; religion; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: C71; C90; D01; (follow links to similar papers)

24 pages, February 1, 2008

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