economy and religion

1. What is your opportunity cost of reading the Stark and Finke book on Sunday night at home? Explain your answer.

2. Consider your own religious preferences when answering this question. Rank the following religious goods in order of elasticity of demand, from most elastic to most inelastic. Explain why you have this ranking. (Muslim)

1. A printed copy of the Koran in English translation.

2. The enjoyment of attending your favorite religious service (at a synagogue, mosque, cathedral, etc.).

3. The satisfaction from praying in private.

4. A t-shirt that says “Trust God” on its front side.

3. Consider a religious congregation in Irvine. For each event below, predict how the event will affect a congregation’s attendance relative to the average attendance, and briefly explain the logic behind your prediction.

(a) A major rainstorm occurs all day on the day of the church service.

(b) A popular sporting event (like the World Cup for soccer, the Super Bowl for American Football, etc.) occurs at the same time as a local church congregation holds its church service.

(c) The church hosts a special lunchtime event immediately after the church meeting.

(d) As announced in each of the prior three weeks, a well-known, boring speaker is giving a sermon rather than the normally, engaging speaker.

4. Read the Amish entry at the World Religions and Spiritualities Project. Go to, hover over “DIRECTORY” in the menu and click “MASTER LIST.” Scroll down to to click on the link for “(The) Amish.”

(a) What is the Ordnung?

(b) What types of things might the Ordnung forbid?

(c) What do you think might be some of the main benefits of being a member of an Amish community? That is, what do you think the Amish themselves might perceive as large benefits of membership?

5. On pp. 33-34 of Faithonomics, Brekke writes, “In fact, one of the main findings of research about religion and the internet is this: religion online is mostly an extension of religion offline.”

(a) Explain the reasoning behind Brekke’s claim that online religion extends offline religion.

(b) Religious groups are not meeting in person right now because of fears about spreading COVID-19, so many groups have switched to remote meetings. Do you think churches will get used to meeting remotely so that, after fears of spreading COVID-19 diminish, many religious groups will continue to meet remotely rather than going back to in-person meetings? Explain the reasoning behind your answer.

(c) Do your own investigation online. Find a religious group’s web site. State the name of the web site and give its URL. Then explain how and to what extent that web site extends offline religion into the internet. Be sure to explain how the web site you found does or does not match Brekke’s claim.

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New York University

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