We propose a major initiative on the social and economic consequences of religion. The initiative centers on five sets of activities: (1) annual “training workshops” for graduate students; (2) annual “working conferences” held in conjunction with ASREC; (3) innovative research projects; (4) an ongoing research seminar managed by a local working group of distinguished scholars; (5) a book, "God, Power, and Printing", written by co-PI Jared Rubin of Chapman University. Our activities a patterned after those used by Vernon Smith and others to turn experimental economics into a major subfield. We also capitalize upon lessons that Larry Iannaccone learned while managing ASREC and CESR. And we leverage the network of scholars affiliated with ASREC – as participants in our activities, consumers of our research outputs, and recruiters of new students and scholars. Our primary goal is to produce and promote research that helps explain the impact of religion. Hence, our principal outputs will be articles published in major academic journals – written by ourselves, our students, and the many scholars and students participating in our workshops, seminars, and conferences - as well as Rubin's book. We also plan to disseminate our findings broadly – through public lectures, ARDA learning modules, and accessible publications for policy centers, religious leaders, and the popular press. The initiative grows out of our conviction that the social-scientific study of religion desperately needs more science *and* more sociability. Hence our emphasis on bringing new methods, minds, collaborative “marriages” into the field. We seek to create nothing less than a new and self-sustaining “ecology” for the study of religion, economics, and culture – not for its own sake, but for the betterment of a world that desperately needs to better understand the power of religion in everyday life.
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