Communication à un séminaire :
(London School of Economics), « Rituals or Good Works: Social Signalling in Religious Organizations »
, Economic Theory Seminar
, TSE, Toulouse, 27 mars 2012, 11:00-12:30, salle Amphi S.
We develop a model of social signalling of cooperative behaviour in religious
organisations. The model embeds a ritual-based religious organization in which signalling arises
through the use of costly rituals, and a discipline-based religious organization in which such
signalling occurs through the monitoring of past behaviour. We use this framework to contrast
-positively and normatively- these two forms of social signalling. We show that ritual-based
religions, while using a costly and wasteful signal, also imply a higher level of coordination
of behaviour in social interactions and a higher incidence of mutual cooperation. Our welfare
analysis suggests that communities are more likely to support a switch to a discipline-based
religion if strategic complementarities are high and if there is su¢ ciently high level of public
information about social behaviour. This accords with the success of Calvins Reformation
in Switzerland and France, a process characterized by the reduction of rituals along with the
creation of institutions to monitor and publicise individualsbehaviour, such as the Consistory.