PED-345: The Political Economy of Religion

Semester: Spring

Credit: 1.0


Day Time Location
First Day 1/27
Meet Day T/Th 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM FAS


This course introduces students to social science methodologies and theoretical approaches to the study of religion. We look at the explanatory value of these approaches for various aspects of economic, political, and social development of individuals and nations. Religious beliefs and practices have differing effects on human productivity and political participation. To fully understand the contribution of religion to human flourishing, that is, the effects of religious beliefs and practices of religion on economic development and political institutions, we examine the interplay between religion, economic and political institutions. What constellation of political factors—education, rule of law (impartial justice), freedom of speech, contracts, private property—does a religion promote? What constellation of economic activities and institutions does a religion promote? What effects do varieties of secularization have on religion? Is the sacralization of politics, as scholars Richard Rorty and Sam Harris argue, a greater threat to society than the secularization of religion? How effective are current theories in adequately explaining the interplay between religion and development? What factors (macro, micro) are relevant to providing an adequate explanation? This course encourages discussion on different social science approaches to the political economy of religion.


Also offered by the Economics Department as Ec 1450r.


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