Research on the Economics of American Religion

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Tue, 01/01/1991

Iannaccone will study how churches attempt to mobilize the time and money resources of their members, and he will analyze how these resources affect congregations' capacities to grow, remain vital, and enhance the welfare of their members and communities. He will address issues of church mobilization and resources through 'rational choice' theory. Working on the assumption that religious beliefs and behaviors, like economic ones, are value choices that individuals make on the basis of rational assessments of their alternatives given the information available to them, Iannaccone uses tools developed for economic analysis to study the economics of American religion. Thus, his research will address numerous issues, including church giving, church growth, contemporary religious trends, and the impact and formation of religious values. At the broadest level, Iannaccone is working to establish the economics of religion as a viable sub- field -- a coherent collection of theory, data, and practical insights that will complement the sociology of religion. (SM)