Monday, August 31, 2009

Religious "nudges"!

A working paper by Angus Deaton (via Chris Dillow) which examined results from Gallup World Poll from across 140 countries appears to indicate that religion nudges people to good behaviour, which in turn results in positive social outcomes. He writes,

"Religious people report better health; they say they have more energy, that their health is better, and that they experience less pain. Their social lives and personal behaviors are also healthier; they are more likely to be married, to have supportive friends, they are more likely to report being treated with respect, they have greater confidence in the healthcare and medical system and they are less likely to smoke... these effects... tend to be stronger for men than for women...

... on average, over all countries, and over countries sorted into income groups, religious people do better on a number of health and health-related indicators. These protective effects appear to be stronger the poorer is the country... religion is a route to a better life in poor countries, but not in rich ones — and to protect men more than women."


Chris Dillow feels that this outcome is "because being religious is associated with things that are good for you... religious men are less likely to smoke, more likely to feel they are respected by others, and more likely to be married - and these things are good for one’s health."

Freakonomics points to more evidence that religious following can also nudge people to vote and help people overcome childhood disadvantages like poverty and difficult upbringing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

why r v not including this in our anti poverty programs? other social programs, we can be religious in our program while being religion neutral. R v losing a major tool in India. Any attempts to use religion?
MId day meals in temples in TN.