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date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Given the pivotal role of clergy inputs in church outputs, it is important to understand religious labor markets: how clergy are allocated to churches, how they are motivated and remunerated, and the implications of these factors for the performance of churches and denominations. Religious labor markets have particular characteristics. Like other motivated agents, clergy’s sense of call conditions their contractual and incentive structures. They have an unusual degree of discretion over time and for many important tasks, such as prayer and sensitive pastoral counseling, monitoring quality and quantity is difficult. Performance evaluation is further complicated by the importance of volunteers and teamwork for outcomes. Denominational governance structures, ranging from the centralized control of the Roman Catholic Church to the local congregational autonomy of Pentecostal churches, greatly affect clergy employment arrangements and incentives. Long-term labor market trends include the feminization of the clergy and problems in recruitment and retention.

Keywords: economics, religion, Christianity, clergy, volunteers, pay, employment, incentives, gender, motivated agents

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