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The Economic Decoding of Religious Dogmas
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-536-8

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Book part
Publication date: 2 December 2013

Seth Abrutyn

A synthesis of the various strands of macro-sociology that is commensurate with a more robust theory of evolutionary institutionalism.

Abstract

Purpose

A synthesis of the various strands of macro-sociology that is commensurate with a more robust theory of evolutionary institutionalism.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing from what may be conceived of as classical institutionalism and from neo-evolutionary sociology and other related traditions, this chapter endeavors to provide a general theory of evolutionary institutionalism as an overview of institutions and institutional autonomy (along with the underlying forces driving the process of autonomy), to present a theory of institutional evolution that delineates the relevant units of selection and evolution, the types of mechanisms that facilitate institutional evolution, and a typology of the sources of variation.

Findings

The chapter constitutes the attempt to provide a theoretical framework intended to engender an improved historical-comparative institutionalism inspired by the works of Max Weber and Herbert Spencer.

Research limitations/implications

The purpose of the theoretical framework presented should not be misconstrued as a general, “grand” theory for the discipline of the sociology as a whole, but rather understood as the model of a common vocabulary for sociologists interested in macro-sociology, institutions, and socio-cultural evolution designed to complement other available models.

Originality/value

As a synthesis, the originality of the theoretical framework presented lies in (1) elucidation of the idea that institutional autonomy as the “master” process of institutional evolution, (2) more precise delineation of the link between meso-level institutional entrepreneurs and institutional evolution, and (3) combination of a body of complementary – yet often loosely linked – bodies of scholarship.

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Social Theories of History and Histories of Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-219-6

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Book part
Publication date: 25 September 2013

Albert Somit and Steven A. Peterson

Purpose – This chapter makes sense of the volume and suggests avenues for future research. Design/methodology/approach – This chapter…

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter makes sense of the volume and suggests avenues for future research.

Design/methodology/approach – This chapter reflects upon some of the challenges facing biology and politics; it offers two case studies of areas calling for more research and discussion.

Findings – Some evolutionary theorists criticize religion. In the process, they undermine the ability to reach out to religious people about the value of evolutionary theory. Two case studies – group selection and genetic bases of political behavior – are examined to illustrate ongoing issues that call for further attention

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The world of biology and politics: Organization and research areas
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-728-3

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Book part
Publication date: 12 December 2011

Brian Paciotti, Peter Richerson, Billy Baum, Mark Lubell, Tim Waring, Richard McElreath, Charles Efferson and Ed Edsten

We investigated the effect of religion on generosity, interpersonal trust, and cooperation by using games developed by experimental economists (Dictator, Trust, and Public…

Abstract

We investigated the effect of religion on generosity, interpersonal trust, and cooperation by using games developed by experimental economists (Dictator, Trust, and Public Goods). In these experiments, individuals were paired or grouped with unknown strangers to test the degree to which religion promotes prosocial behavior. We evaluated group- and individual-level effects of religion on prosocial behavior across the three games. Although playing the games in a religious setting showed no overall difference as compared to a secular setting, we did find a weak association between some individual-level dimensions of religiosity and behavior in some of the games. The weak association between religion and behavior is consistent with theory and empirical studies using similar measures – the anonymous pairing and grouping of the economic games may moderate individual-level effects of religion. Our research is a strong complement to the empirical literature because the three studies involved a large and diverse sample and used sensitive instruments that have been found to reliably measure prosocial behavior.

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The Economics of Religion: Anthropological Approaches
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-228-9

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Book part
Publication date: 15 October 2013

Seth Abrutyn

Recent scholarship in neo-evolutionary sociology has rejected stage-models in favor of multilinear theories that shift the study of sociocultural change away from…

Abstract

Recent scholarship in neo-evolutionary sociology has rejected stage-models in favor of multilinear theories that shift the study of sociocultural change away from teleological arguments toward those that emphasize selection pressures and macrodynamics. The paper below adopts a neo-evolutionary frame to revisit one of the most epochal moments in human sociocultural evolution, the urban revolution (about 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, China, Egypt, and perhaps the Indus Valley) and the rise of the first political units. Shifting the analysis from conventional perspectives, this paper asks the question why the polity was the first autonomous institution besides kinship and what consequences did this have on the trajectory of the human societies, and more generally, human sociocultural evolution. By doing so, a slightly different historiography is presented in which institutional autonomy corresponds not with stages, but rather an historical “phasing” that emphasizes the role that institutional entrepreneurs have played in driving institutional evolution via structural opportunities and historical contingencies.

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Voices of Globalization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-546-3

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Abstract

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The Economic Decoding of Religious Dogmas
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-536-8

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Book part
Publication date: 30 December 2004

Richard Sosis and Bradley J. Ruffle

Despite the putative importance of ideological commitments in the evolution of large-scale cooperation among unrelated individuals, evolutionary researchers have yet to…

Abstract

Despite the putative importance of ideological commitments in the evolution of large-scale cooperation among unrelated individuals, evolutionary researchers have yet to examine empirically the relationship between ideology and cooperation. We conduct an experimental game on Israeli kibbutz members to evaluate whether: (1) differences in ideological commitment can explain variation in cooperation within and across kibbutzim; and (2) whether certain types of ideologies are better at promoting cooperation than others. We use the cooperative behavior of Israeli city residents as a baseline and show that members of collectivized kibbutzim are more cooperative than city residents, while members of kibbutzim that have abandoned socialist ideology (privatized kibbutzim) are no more cooperative than city residents. Our results further indicate that among collectivized kibbutzim, members of religious kibbutzim are more cooperative than their secular counterparts. Religious males who engage in thrice-daily communal prayer display the highest levels of cooperation of any subpopulation in our sample. We discuss how the performance of sanctified rituals serves to internalize religious ideological commitment, thus enhancing the ability of religious ideology to motivate cooperative behavior.

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Socioeconomic Aspects of Human Behavioral Ecology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-255-9

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Article
Publication date: 12 January 2010

Giuseppina Autiero and Concetto Paolo Vinci

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the causal link between government regulation of religion and the choice of investing in human and physical capital.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the causal link between government regulation of religion and the choice of investing in human and physical capital.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses an analytical model with a government setting the output quota to transfer to religious activities. This depends on the extent to which it is an ideological government that uses religion either for legitimacy aims or for the ideological control of population. Workers and entrepreneurs observe the quota and simultaneously choose the investment in human and physical capital, which may trigger, à la Acemoglu, social increasing returns.

Findings

Directing resources to religious activities may be detrimental to output performance. This may occur if an ideological government sets the optimal quota above the quotas preferred by private agents. This negatively affects the investment in physical and human capital and output performance.

Originality/value

Despite the importance of government regulation of religion in the literature, its effect on output performance has not been thoroughly analyzed yet. In this respect, the paper aims to further investigate the causal links between religion regulation related to government type and the investments in human and physical capital and the output level.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 37 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Book part
Publication date: 23 April 2012

Darren E. Sherkat

Purpose – The connections between religious factors and stratification outcomes were long ignored in the sociological literature, yet a growing number of studies show that…

Abstract

Purpose – The connections between religious factors and stratification outcomes were long ignored in the sociological literature, yet a growing number of studies show that religion remains important for determining the life chances of individuals. I add to this literature by examining how religious affiliation is associated with the structure of occupational attainment in the United States.

Methodology – I analyze data from the 1972–2008 General Social Surveys to show how religious affiliation is related to occupational attainment and occupational mobility by gender and race.

Findings – I find that sectarian Protestants occupy the lower rungs of the occupational structure, even relative to their low rates of educational attainment. In contrast, Jews and nonidentifying respondents show considerable occupational advantage. Catholics also have specific patterns of occupational attainment that hint at their growing wealth parity with mainline Protestants. I also show that religious influences hold across racial and gender groupings, and across cohorts.

Social implications – Religion continues to significantly influence the occupational structure in the United States, and sectarian religion serves as an important anchor hindering occupational attainment.

Details

Religion, Work and Inequality
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-347-7

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2019

Sanya Ojo

The purpose of this paper is to examine ethnic entrepreneurship within the contexts of religion, cultural hybridity, segregation, diasporic network and enterprise.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine ethnic entrepreneurship within the contexts of religion, cultural hybridity, segregation, diasporic network and enterprise.

Design/methodology/approach

The study collected two sets of data from 15 black African respondents/entrepreneurs through face-to-face interviews in London, UK.

Findings

Findings point to immigrants’ entrepreneurial adaptation through traditional and dogmatic interpretations of religious beliefs in the informal sector.

Originality/value

The paper offers fresh insights into the religion/faith and socio-cultural meld in the sagacity of black African entrepreneurship. Such insights afford great opportunities to construct new sites of meaning or frame new explanations of entrepreneurship among the ethnic group – using religion and culture as important environmental munificence.

Details

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, vol. 13 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6204

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