Assistant Professor Sadullah Yildirim’s paper has been published by the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. In Religiosity: Identifying the effect of pluralism, Professor Sadullah and his co-authors provide a new perspective on the question of whether plurality has an effect on religiosity. We congratulate Professor Yildirim for his work and wish him success in his future studies. Below, you can find the abstract of his paper.
Abstract: Economists and sociologists have long disagreed over the effect of pluralism on religiosity, the question of whether the number religions in a society lessens or heightens people’s beliefs and participation. The controversy stems from the omission of religion’s role in legitimizing government, which has significantly biased previous estimates. We use a novel identification strategy that exploits the variation among countries in their proximity (cost of travel) to centers of universal religions of the world (Buddhism, Christianity, Islam). Whereas the results of OLS analysis tentatively suggest a negative association between pluralism and religiosity, estimates from the method of instrumental variables reveal that the direct effect of pluralism is positive. Our results support the argument that enhanced competition in the religion market would increase religiosity by offering believers a greater variety and quality of choices.