The economics of religion has grown immensely in the last 7 years. What was once an obscure field is now thriving, with scholars publishing in top journals and graduate students from top programs eager to enter the field. Workshops funded by previous JTF grants are responsible for a significant portion of this growth. Through these events, we established an ecosystem which brings top scholars together while giving young scholars a platform to disseminate their work and join the network. The goal of this grant is to build on these successes and make the economics of religion a self-sustaining “field of the future.”
While we have made incredible strides, more events of this kind are needed to sustain our progress. We therefore propose an ambitious initiative for broadening the social scientific study of the economic consequences of religion, centering on 2 sets of activities: 6 annual workshops for graduate students; and 2 highly visible mini-conferences held at NBER and Venice, Italy.
Our primary goal is to produce and promote research which helps explains one of *the* big questions in the social sciences: what is the impact of religion on economic, political, and social outcomes? We plan to achieve our goal with a “marriage” of the old and the young: two of our workshops will bring together top scholars in the world, while our 6 graduate student events will bring new scholars into the field who have a lifetime of research ahead of them. Our principal outcomes will be articles published in top academic journals, written by ourselves and the many participants in our workshops.
Our long run ambition is to make the economics of religion a “field of the future”—one that is taught at graduate schools and attracts top young talent in economics and political science. We are closer to this vision than ever before. Workshops funded by previous grants are already bearing fruit, and there is every reason to believe this will grow exponentially with further investment.