Get access

Religious Attitudes and Home Bias: Theory and New Evidence from Primary Data


  • We thank Vytas Bautrenas, Tim Brown, Marius Bruelhart, Marco Casari, Francesca Cevolani, Georgios Marios Chrysanthou, Tom Coupé, Caterina Degani, Vicente Donato, Oded Galor, Ken Green, Manfred Holler, Lehan Jin, Vesa Kanniainen, Mariusz Krawczyk, Vikas Kumar, Siobhan McAndrew, Jacques Melitz, Hannu Nurmi, Olena Ognezdilova, Yana Ponomarova, Romano Prodi, Larry Roberts, Remzi Sanver, Yevgeniya Shevtsova, Huasheng Song, Yossi Spiegel, Monica Stagnaro, Satoko Takenoshita, Francesca Tolomei, Federico Trionfetti, Cecilia Vergari, seminar participants at Heriott-Watt University, at ASREC 2011 in Arlington, VA and at EUREL 2012 in Manchester. We acknowledge support by the University of Bologna with the 2010 RFO scheme and by DERS, University of York for Super Pump Priming 2010.


This paper examines the relationship between religion and home bias. A theoretical framework is proposed suggesting that countries may show a certain degree of religion-enhanced international altruism associated with a lower home bias. These predictions are investigated empirically using original individual-level data from a survey on religious attitudes and home bias that was designed and collected in 15 countries. Contrary to previous evidence, the empirical investigation suggests that religious denominations may not play an important role in determining home bias. The findings partly corroborate the hypothesis that an open and tolerant attitude towards religion may enhance trust and altruism and, hence, may have a pro-trade effect by lowering home bias. It is concluded that models investigating the relationship between religion and home bias should incorporate different aspects of religion beyond affiliations and should consider different dimensions of home bias.