Abstract and Keywords
The economics of religion, whose beginnings are traced to the mid-1970s, gathered momentum in the 1990s and is now recognized by social scientists as a legitimate approach to the study of religion. Thanks to the spate of research it has spawned, we now have a better understanding of the determinants of religious adherence within societies, how religious sects sustain membership loyalty, which countries are more likely to have state-sponsored religions, and how religiosity might impinge on economic growth and development. What has been conspicuous by its absence until recently, however, is an attempt to evaluate the historical role of religion in conjunction with its commensurate effects on conflict and cooperation. This article examines recent empirical work that began to cover this niche, and explores the long-term sociopolitical and economic ramifications of religious strife, rivalries, and cooperation. After discussing the link between religious conflict and socioeconomic change, it focuses on the role of religious identity and religious cooperation on sociopolitical and economic progress.
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