Economics of Religion


In this New Economic Thinking webinar, we have set out to interrogate the Economics of religion. We ask, is there a correlation between religion and economic development? If yes, then how can we measure it.

Evidently, religion has played an important role in societies, affecting or even defining individual beliefs and traits, cultural norms and values, social groups and organizations, and political and military power.

The past few decades have ushered in the analysis of the relevance of religion in the history of the world economy. Empirical work examines the causal influence of religion in microeconomics to explain individual behavior and in the macroeconomic determinants of economic growth.

Both economics and religion are belief systems that try to optimize outcomes. For the religious, that outcome is getting to heaven, and for economists, it is achieving robust economic growth—heaven on earth.

Until recently, religion has not been a popular target for economic analysis. Yet the tools of economics can offer deep insights into how religious groups compete, deliver social services, and reach out to potential converts—how, in daily life, religions nurture and deploy market power.

In this webinar, we will explore how growth, inequality, education, technology, public goods provision, and social trends both affect and are affected by religious patterns.

Event details

Date: October 6, 2021

Time: 3:00 pm CET

Venue: Online


Jeanet Bentzen

Associate Professor of Economics University of Copenhagen

Jeanet Bentzen is associate professor at the University of Copenhagen.

She is also CEPR Research Affiliate in Economic History and the Macroeconomics and Growth Programme, External Research Associate at CAGE, Warwick University, and Executive Director of the Association of Economics, Religion, and Culture (ASREC).

Jeanet Bentzen’s research focuses on economic approaches to decision-making and culture, and includes topics related to religion, institutions, economic growth, economic history, and geographic confounders. Most of her recent work is within the Economics of Religion field.