*Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA. Early drafts of this paper were presented at the meetings of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, November 1991, the American Economic Association, January 1992 and the Western Economic Association, June 1992. I am indebted to many colleagues for encouragement and suggestions, particularly Douglas Allen, Corry Azzi, Gary Becker, Thomas Borcherding, Timur Kuran, John Lott, John Murray, S. Ramachandran, Rodney Stark, Gordon Winston and two anonymous reviewers. This research was supported in part by a grant (#90–0004) from the Lilley Endowment's Louisville Institute for the Study of Protestantism and American Culture.
RISK, RATIONALITY, AND RELIGIOUS PORTFOLIOS
Version of Record online: 28 SEP 2007
Volume 33, Issue 2, pages 285–295, April 1995
How to Cite
IANNACCONE, L. R. (1995), RISK, RATIONALITY, AND RELIGIOUS PORTFOLIOS. Economic Inquiry, 33: 285–295. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-7295.1995.tb01863.x
- Issue online: 28 SEP 2007
- Version of Record online: 28 SEP 2007
This paper derives a theory of religious behavior and organization from the assumption that people seek to limit the risk associated with their religious activities. Alternative risk reduction strategies lead to different styles of religion: one centering on collective production, exclusivity, and high levels of commitment; another centering on private production, diversified consumption, and fee-for-service transactions. Western religions, particularly their more sectarian forms, exemplify the collective style, whereas Asian and New Age religions approximate the private.