Paul Seabright
Toulouse School of Economics



(Tuesday, 17th May 2016)

Title : Institutions as vehicles for religious and political narratives

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Many institutions in modern societies (including in particular churches and political parties) seek to influence their members through providing attractive narratives linking members costly actions to future outcomes. This lecture will describe how such institutions compete to offer narratives that appeal to human beings' evolved psychology, and what impact such competition has on social and economic outcomes. Central to this process is the idea that such institutions may have a comparative advantage in inducing trust in a complex modern society over other, secular institutions that depend for their appeal on more complex messages without a narrative frame.

Bibliographical references :

Laurence Iannacone: Introduction to the Economics of Religion. Journal of Economic Literature 1978

Norenzayan et al: The Cultural Evolution of Prosocial Religions. Behavioural & Brain Science 2015.

Fowler & Kam: Beyond the Self: Social Identity, Altruism, and Political Participation. Journal of Politics 2007.

Acevedo & Krueger: Two Egocentric Sources of the Decision to Vote: The Voter’s Illusion and the Belief in Personal Relevance. Political Psychology 2004.