Secularization and Economic Models of Religious Behavior

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The economics of religion often creeps into the corner of the sociologist of religion's vision. Although their minds are generally on higher things, religious organizations have financial concerns. Since the early 1990s, a number of U.S. scholars have tried to radically reshape our understanding of religion by applying economic principles to such core problems as the explanation of belief, conversion, membership, and commitment. Inspired by Nobel Prize winner Gary Becker's grand vision of an economics of everything, Rodney Stark, Roger Finke, and Laurence Iannaccone have produced a large body of work that seeks to explain both large-scale social patterns (such as why some societies are more religious than others) and micro-decision making (such as shifting between denominations) by considerations of market structure and cost-benefit calculations. The supply-side explanation of religious vitality was promoted as an alternative to the secularization approach. Stark's interest in it stemmed from his earlier commitment to a theory of religion that makes the demand for religion high and stable. This article discusses secularization and economic models of religious behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Religion
EditorsRachel M. McCleary
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
ISBN (Electronic)9780199940332
ISBN (Print)9780195390049
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

Fingerprint

Secularization
Economics
Denomination
Nobel prize
Costs and benefits
Supply side
Decision making
Creep
Economics of religion
Market structure

Keywords

  • Demand
  • Economic models
  • Economics
  • Laurence iannaccone
  • Religion
  • Religious behavior
  • Religious vitality
  • Rodney stark
  • Roger finke
  • Secularization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

Cite this

Bruce, S. (2011). Secularization and Economic Models of Religious Behavior. In R. M. McCleary (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Religion Oxford University Press (OUP). https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195390049.013.0015

Secularization and Economic Models of Religious Behavior. / Bruce, Steve.

The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Religion. ed. / Rachel M. McCleary. Oxford University Press (OUP), 2011.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Bruce, S 2011, Secularization and Economic Models of Religious Behavior. in RM McCleary (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Religion. Oxford University Press (OUP). https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195390049.013.0015
Bruce S. Secularization and Economic Models of Religious Behavior. In McCleary RM, editor, The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Religion. Oxford University Press (OUP). 2011 https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195390049.013.0015
Bruce, Steve. / Secularization and Economic Models of Religious Behavior. The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Religion. editor / Rachel M. McCleary. Oxford University Press (OUP), 2011.
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