Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/90443
Authors: 
Strulik, Holger
Year of Publication: 
2012
Series/Report no.: 
Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 116
Abstract: 
In medieval times, most people identifi ed with religious values and aggregate income and productivity grew at glacier speed. In the 20th century, religion played a much lesser role in daily life and income and productivity grew at high and unprecedented rates. The present paper develops a simple economic theory of identity choice that explains both stylized facts as well as a period of secularization during which an increasing share of the population abandons religious identity for worldly pleasures and aggregate productivity takes off. An extension of the basic model investigates the Protestant reformation as an intermediate stage. Another extension introduces socially-dependent religious preferences, establishes the endogenous emergence of multiple, self-ful lling equilibria, and demonstrates how a social multiplier amplifi es the speed of transition.
Subjects: 
religion
identity
economic growth
productivity
secularization
comparative development
JEL: 
N30
O10
O40
Z12
Z13
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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