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Moralizing gods and armed conflict

journal contribution
posted on 2017-12-01, 00:00 authored by Ahmed Skalli
This study documents a robust empirical pattern between moralizing gods, which prescribe fixed laws of morality, and conflict prevalence and fatalities, using spatially referenced data for Africa on contemporary conflicts and ancestral belief systems of individual ethnic groups prior to European contact. Moralizing gods are found to significantly increase conflict prevalence and casualties at the local level. The identification strategy draws on the evolutionary psychology roots of moralizing gods as a solution to the collective action problem in pre-modern societies. A one standard deviation increase in the likelihood of emergence of a moralizing god increases casualties by 18–36% and conflict prevalence by 4–8% approximately.

History

Journal

Journal of economic psychology

Volume

63

Pagination

184 - 198

Publisher

Elsevier

Location

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

ISSN

0167-4870

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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