Is the call to prayer a call to cooperate? A field experiment on the impact of religious salience on prosocial behavior
Author(s)Erik P. Duhaime
Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Economic theory. Demography
Economics as a science
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AbstractWhile religiosity is positively correlated with self-reported prosociality, observational and experimental studies on the long-hypothesized connection between religion and prosocial behavior have yielded mixed results. Recent work highlights the role of religious salience for stimulating prosocial behavior, but much of this research has involved priming Christian subjects in laboratory settings, limiting generalization to the real world. Here I present a field study conducted in the souks in the medina of Marrakesh, Morocco, which shows that religious salience can increase prosocial behavior with Muslim subjects in a natural setting. In an economic decision making task similar to a dictator game, shopkeepers demonstrated increased prosocial behavior when the Islamic call to prayer was audible compared to when it was not audible. This finding complements a growing literature on the connection between cultural cues, religious practices, and prosocial behavior, and supports the hypothesis that religious rituals play a role in galvanizing prosocial behavior.