About Us

About Us

The Association for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Culture exists to promote interdisciplinary scholarship on religion through conferences, workshops, newsletters, websites, working papers, teaching, and research. ASREC supports all manner of social-scientific methods, but seeks especially to stimulate work based on economic perspectives and the rational choice paradigm.

Board of Directors

    Jared Rubin, President (Chapman University)

    Jeanet Bentzen, Executive Director (University of Copenhagen)

    Linda Williams, Secretary (Chapman University)

    Vasiliki Fouka (Stanford University)

    Daniel Hungerman (University of Notre Dame)

    Laurence Iannaccone (Chapman University)

    Mark Koyama (George Mason University)

    Avital Livny (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

    Sara Lowes (University of California, San Diego)

    Rachel McCleary (Harvard University)

    Jonathan Schulz (George Mason University)

    Mara Squicciarini (Bocconi University)

What is the economic study of religion and culture?

The economic study of religion and culture comprises a variety of sub-fields, which collectively embrace all aspects of the social-scientific study of religion or culture. It is by no means limited to questions concerning the commercial economy or monetary aspects of religion and culture.

  • Studies of the current and historic role of religion and culture in advancing or impeding economic development, social progress, moral development, scientific and technology advances, and so forth.
  • Economic studies of religious and cultural beliefs, behavior, and institutions. (Examples: Explanations for conversion and commitment that emphasize choice and rationality over irrationality and indoctrination. Rational explanations for the success of “extreme,” “fundamentalist,” and “conservative” groups and weakness of more “liberal,” “mainstream” groups.)
  • Theoretical and observed differences between different forms of religion and culture. (E.g., religion versus “magic”, and monotheism versus polytheism. Why Christianity displaced Greco-Roman paganism, and why polytheism is less morally constraining than monotheism.)
  • Studies of religious “markets”. (E.g., Alternatives to traditional “secularization” theory that emphasize the centrality of innovation, entrepreneurship, and competition in the “religious marketplace.” Market-oriented explanations for America’s religious vitality versus Europe’s religious decline.)
  • Studies of religious commitment and religious groups influence the well-being of individuals, families, youth, communities, and nations.
  • Studies of religious and cultural trends, the personal and social determinants of religiosity, and the relationship between religious/cultural and political/social/economic attitudes.
  • Policy implications regarding the state regulation of religion, religious liberty, church-state relationships, the treatment of minority and deviant faiths, etc.