Religion, Moral Attitudes & Economic Behavior

Isadora Kirchmaier (University of Heidelberg)
Jens PrĂĽfer (Tilburg University)
Stefan T. Trautmann (University of Heidelberg)

Abstract: Using data for a representative sample of the Dutch population with information about participants’ religious background, we study the link between religion and moral behavior and attitudes. Religious people are less accepting of unethical behavior and report more volunteering. They report lower preference for redistribution. Religious people are equally likely as non-religious people to betray trust in an anonymous experimental game. These effects are consistent across different domains of religiosity. Controlling for Christian denominations, we find that Catholics betray less than non-religious people, while Protestants betray more than Catholics and are indistinguishable from the non-religious. We also explore the causality of these results.