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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter provides an overview of economics as an academic discipline, particularly with regard to the study of religion. Three of economics’ driving forces are explored with regard to religion: (a) the household and its productions, (b) the market and its miraculous workings, and (c) the self-interested Homo oeconomicus and his actions. In each field, the inclusion of religion expands the understanding of the respective economic phenomenon. The authors present paradigms and axioms of economics and give a critical assessment, and provide a brief overview of alternative models (New Institutional Economics) that serve well for describing religious topics while benefitting from a religious-studies perspective to analyze the economy. With it, the economist’s perspective broadens and the endeavor becomes interdisciplinary. This approach is subsumed as Economics of Religion, with a multitude of topics, and theoretical/methodological diversity. The chapter presents basic concepts and scientific opportunities within this field of research.

Keywords: bounded rationality, Christian business ethics, homo oeconomicus, market theory of religion, new institutional economy, rational choice theory of religion, religion as dependent/independent variable, religious goods

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