Journal Article

Religious Giving and the Boundedness of Rationality*

John P. Hoffmann, Bruce R. Lott and Catherine Jeppsen

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 71, issue 3, pages 323-348
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online June 2010 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socrel/srq047
Religious Giving and the Boundedness of Rationality*

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We develop a model of religious giving that is based on ideas from recent studies of bounded rationality and related concepts, heuristics, religious identification, and theological–interpersonal interactions. In general, we predict that the positive association between religious service attendance, importance of religion, or beliefs about the bible and religious giving is conditioned by the strictness of the group. We also propose that there is less variability in giving in strict faith traditions. Estimating models of giving using five national data sets, we find support for the hypothesis concerning variability, but less support for the notion that the proposed associations are conditioned by strictness. The conditional effects are restricted to a data set specifically designed to examine religious giving. Moreover, the hypothesis concerning conditional effects of attendance by strictness may be most valid when measured in specific denominations.

Keywords: religious giving; rational choice theory; bounded rationality

Journal Article.  10813 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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