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Can religion explain cross-country differences in inequality? A global perspective


Naveed, A and Wang, C, Can religion explain cross-country differences in inequality? A global perspective, Social Choice and Welfare, 50, (3) pp. 481-518. ISSN 0176-1714 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00355-017-1093-1


This paper investigates the relationship between different religious groups and income inequality. In particular, we examine whether different religious groups (Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism) have an impact on income inequality in a global perspective. Furthermore, this paper also sheds light on the effects of major religious sub-groups (Christianity and Islam) on income inequality. Using data for 130 countries from 1970 to 2013, we estimate a panel data model, controlling for religious beliefs, savings rate, arable land rate and age-dependency ratio. Our results indicate that religion plays an important role in explaining income inequality. In particular, we found that Islam and Judaism reduce income inequality while in general, Christianity and Buddhism increases inequality. However, the effects from sub-groups of Christianity on inequality are mixed; in particular, Anglican and Orthodox significantly reduce inequality while the effect from Catholic and Protestant is opposite. These findings are robust to different measures of inequality and alternative estimation techniques that take care of endogeneity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:religion, inequality, cross-country study, economic development
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Economics, business and management curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Community services
Objective Field:Social class and inequalities
UTAS Author:Wang, C (Dr Cong Wang)
ID Code:128114
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2018-09-03
Last Modified:2018-10-17

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