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

Naveed, A and Wang, C ORCID: 0000-0002-6852-5490 2018 , 'Can religion explain cross-country differences in inequality? A global perspective' , Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 50, no. 3 , pp. 481-518 , doi: 10.1007/s00355-017-1093-1.

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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 Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Naveed, A and Wang, C
Keywords: religion, inequality, cross-country study, economic development
Journal or Publication Title: Social Choice and Welfare
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
ISSN: 0176-1714
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/s00355-017-1093-1
Copyright Information:

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

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