Religious Pro-Sociality? Experimental Evidence from a Sample of 766 Spaniards
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Public Library of Science (PLOS)
Altruistic behaviorBehaviorDecision makingDictator gameExperimental economicsGamesPaymentReligion
Brañas-Garza, P.; Espín, A.M.; Neuman, S. Religious Pro-Sociality? Experimental Evidence from a Sample of 766 Spaniards. Plos One, 9(8): e104685 (2014). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/32866]
SponsorshipFunding was provided by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (ECO2010-17049), the Government of Andalusia Project for Excellence in Research (P07.SEJ.02547), and the Ramón Areces Foundation (R+D 2011).
This study explores the relationship between several personal religion-related variables and social behaviour, using three paradigmatic economic games: the dictator (DG), ultimatum (UG), and trust (TG) games. A large carefully designed sample of the urban adult population in Granada (Spain) is employed (N = 766). From participants' decisions in these games we obtain measures of altruism, bargaining behaviour and sense of fairness/equality, trust, and positive reciprocity. Three dimensions of religiosity are examined: (i) religious denomination; (ii) intensity of religiosity, measured by active participation at church services; and (iii) conversion out into a different denomination than the one raised in. The major results are: (i) individuals with “no religion” made decisions closer to rational selfish behaviour in the DG and the UG compared to those who affiliate with a “standard” religious denomination; (ii) among Catholics, intensity of religiosity is the key variable that affects social behaviour insofar as religiously-active individuals are generally more pro-social than non-active ones; and (iii) the religion raised in seems to have no effect on pro-sociality, beyond the effect of the current measures of religiosity. Importantly, behaviour in the TG is not predicted by any of the religion-related variables we analyse. While the results partially support the notion of religious pro-sociality, on the other hand, they also highlight the importance of closely examining the multidimensional nature of both religiosity and pro-social behaviour.