Skip to main content

Afterlife incentives in charitable giving

Buy Article:

$53.17 plus tax (Refund Policy)


There is an expanding literature that examines the influence of religion on economic behaviour. Researchers typically do not distinguish among religions, masking important variation across doctrines. Our article adopts a typology of religions based on the construct of salvific merit. Major religious doctrines are ordered based on their linkage between charitable behaviour in this life and condition in the afterlife. Using the Center on Philanthropy Panel Study (COPPS), we exploit variation in household marginal tax rates (a subsidy to charitable giving) to test the influence of major religious doctrines on charitable giving. We find that charitable giving by adherents to high-salvific-merit religions are less sensitive to changes in charitable subsidies. Adherents to low-salvific-merit religions behave more like nonreligious households. Our results suggest that religious households optimize according to specific doctrines rather than a broad notion of religion.

Keywords: COPPS; L30; N32; N42; charitable giving; incentives; religion

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Economics,Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Dr.Birmingham 35229, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2013

More about this publication?

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more