Munich Personal RePEc Archive

An Economist’s Guide to Heaven

Muller, Nick and Gray, Jo Anna and Stone, Joe (2010): An Economist’s Guide to Heaven.

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Abstract

This paper is the first to offer an economic model of God and humanity as optimizing agents in the context of concrete belief archetypes (religious ‘contracts’) in Judeo-Christian theology. Data support the model’s unique predictions, despite their otherwise counterintuitive, unlikely nature. For example, the model requires that in one belief archetype, ‘good works’ not increase with strength of faith, as one might otherwise expect, and that what appears may be God’s dominant contract precisely balances divine penalties for reneging on promises with incentives to seek divine ‘gifts’—an equivalence supported in the data.

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