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Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself: Community Formation and the Church

Jeitschko, Thomas D. and O’Connell, Séamus and Pecchenino, Rowena A. (2010) Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself: Community Formation and the Church. Faith and Economics, 55. pp. 19-56.

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Abstract

The church has played a central role in establishing and maintaining, as well as undermining, communities throughout modern history. In this paper we explore some of the mechanisms through which the church can coordinate individual behavior to achieve improvements in individual and social welfare, and reveal the ways in which the church can fail, causing established communities to founder or dissolve. In our model inherently religious individuals may become trapped in a secular equilibrium that is strictly dominated by a religious equilibrium in which individuals’ actions bestow positive external benefits on other community members. The church, via its teachings, clergy and ministries, reveals the benefits of coordinated behavior, both in this world and in the world to come, and the costs of uncoordinated behavior, separation from God and one’s fellow man, to induce community members to take actions which are both individually and socially beneficial. External forces, such as the state and secular society, and internal forces, such as doctrinal disputes, inconsistencies, and incoherence, can reduce a church’s ability to coordinate, to the detriment of all.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Preprint version of published article.
Keywords: Economics of Religion; Spirituality; Community Formation; Coordination Failures; Love thy Neighbour;
Subjects: Arts, Celtic Studies & Philosophy > Religion
Social Sciences > Economics, Finance & Accounting
Item ID: 2648
Depositing User: Prof. Rowena Pecchenino
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2011 11:58
Journal or Publication Title: Faith and Economics
Publisher: Association of Christian Economists
Refereed: No
URI:

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