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Religious Extremism: The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly

By modeling religious activity as a product of rational choice and market forces, the economics of religion offers new insights concerning religious trends, the consequences of religious freedom, doctrinal innovation, and the enduring appeal of extremism. The work both complements and challenges that of sociologists, historians, and other religious scholars. Club-theoretic models of sectarianism highlight the potential benefits of strictness and sacrifice, not only in religions, but also in communes, gangs, military units, social movements, political organizations, and even academic subfields.
-Laurence Iannaccone

Laurence Iannaconne is professor of economics at the Arbyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University. He is also the director of the Institute for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Society. In more than fifty publications, Dr. Iannaccone has applied economic insights to study denominational growth, church attendance, religious giving, conversion, extremism, international trends, and many other aspects of religion and spirituality. His articles have appeared in numerous academic journals, including American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, American Journal of Sociology, and Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. He is currently writing two books on the economics of religion.

Professor Iannaconne’s visit to campus is sponsored by the Lowe Institute for Political Economy and the Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom at CMC.