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The effect of religion on Muslims’ charitable contributions to members of a non‐Muslim majority

Rebecca Morton (), Kai Ou and Xiangdong Qin

Journal of Public Economic Theory, 2020, vol. 22, issue 2, 433-448

Abstract: We investigate the effects of religion on charitable contributions of Muslims who are in a minority to non‐Muslims who are in a majority and to fellow Muslims. We find that religious thinking leads to significantly more charitable giving by 10%. The effect of religious thinking is dependent on the ethnic identity of the recipient. We find a significant effect on giving behavior toward relatively more privileged out‐group members (Han Chinese), but a small and generally insignificant effect toward in‐group members (fellow Muslims). With religious thinking, prosocial behavior toward out‐group members is significantly higher by 14%, which is mainly explained by the religiosity of Muslims. Our results have implications for our understanding of the influence of Islamic rules on Muslims’ attitudes and behavior toward non‐Muslims and for the design of fundraising mechanisms in Muslim communities.

Date: 2020
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Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:22:y:2020:i:2:p:433-448