L’Observatoire des religions

Preaching to the choir ? Economic analysis of Church Growth

vendredi 14 décembre 2007 par Esa Mangeloja

Economic theory, applied economic modeling and econometric methods offer advantageous tools for analyzing numerous organizations, institutions and social contexts which are not inherently downright economical by nature, as religious markets. In contemporary rational choice religious market models, church growth is assumed to depend on surplus resources available for church development. These extra resources can exist as volunteer work and extra monetary contributions, delivered by enthusiasts and active members, signaling devotion and personal sacrifice. These inputs produce more members and attendants into churches. These hypotheses are tested by applying religious market data from Finland. Models are estimated by comparing data from the dominant state church and the competitive free-church. Both models seem to give support for previous argumentation, emphasizing the importance of volunteer activism and surplus efforts for the church growth.

No 07/02, Papers on Economics of Religion from Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada.

Keywords : church growth ; rational choice ; religion ; cost-benefit analysis ; voluntary work

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