Towards Divine Economics: Some Testable Propositions

Publication Year : 2002

Throughout the human history, the religion has remained a fundamental feature of social construct and human behaviour. Religious orientation plays important role in shaping human perceptions about economic and non-economic activities. With few exceptions, religion has remained an un-explored area in economics. For most economists, narrative and metaphor have no place in a rational choice theory, which is a wrong belief. In fact, any approach that considers behavioural laws satisfying the criteria of objectivity, reproducibility, and refutability is scientific and falls in purview of rational choice framework. A few studies, however, do exist on economics of religion under rational choice concerning to households, groups, and entire “religious markets”. [Becker (1976); Iannaccone (1988, 1990, 1992, 1993); Mack and Leigland (1992)]. Rosenberg (1985) presents discussion of the limitations of neoclassical economic theory due to its reliance on exogenous differences in taste and preference. It is argued that these limitations cannot be circumvented by findings and theories in other disciplines (e.g., psychology), because any measurement of preferences must begin with neoclassical assumptions about rationality. The alternative to tasteendogeniety advanced by [Becker (1976)] is found to only circumvent the usual difficulties if “stable preferences” notion is interpreted as needs. Further advancement is not taking place because of the important heterogeneous variables, which have yet received little attention from economists. Such variables may be found in attitudes and values acquired by consumers in variety of social and religious environments.