(When) are religious people nicer? Religious salience and the ``Sunday effect'' on pro-social behavior
Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Economic theory. Demography
DOAJ:Business and Economics
Economics as a science
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AbstractPrior research has found mixed evidence for the long-theorized link between religiosity and pro-social behavior. To help overcome this divergence, I hypothesize that pro-social behavior is linked not to religiosity per se, but rather to the salience of religion and religious norms. I report a field experiment that examined when auction participants will respond to an appeal to continue bidding for secular charitable causes. Religious individuals are more likely than non-religious individuals to respond to an appeal ``for charity'' only on days that they visit their place of worship; on other days of the week, religiosity has no effect. Notably, the result persists after controlling for a host of factors that may influence bidding, but disappears when the appeal ``for charity'' is replaced by an appeal to bid for other (i.e., competitive) reasons. Implications for the link between religion and pro-social behavior are discussed.