The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Religion and Economic Development

  • Sriya Iyer
Reference work entry


The role of religion in economic development warrants a nuanced perspective that integrates economic theory with an understanding of socio-political structures, appreciating the econometric issues that arise in quantifying religious processes. Existing research focuses on religious structures and organizations, state religions, faith-based welfare programmes, the regulation of religion, and the impact of religion on measures of well-being such as income and education. Viewing religion as spiritual capital, with the attendant role played by religious network externalities in fostering economic development, is vital for development policy. Contemporary research in religion and economic development is flourishing, encompassing all these diverse concerns.


Aquinas St Thomas Club goods Economic demography Education Fertility Health care Human capital Human capital Insurance Islamic economic institutions Poverty alleviation Protestantism Religion and economic development Religion Economics of Religious capital Religious networks Schumpeter, J. Self-selection Smith, A. Social capital Social interaction (empirics) Social norms Tawney, R. Technology Terrorism Trust Weber, M. Well-being Work ethic 

JEL Classifications

O1 O4 Z12 Z13 
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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sriya Iyer
    • 1
  1. 1.