Religion, clubs, and emergent social divides

Michael D. Makowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Arguments regarding the existence of an American cultural divide are frequently placed in a religious context. This paper seeks to establish that, all politics aside, the American religious divide is real, that religious polarization is not a uniquely American phenomenon, and that religious divides can be understood as naturally emergent within the club theory of religion. Analysis of the survey data reveals a bimodal distribution of religious commitment in the U.S. International data reveals evidence of bimodal distributions in all twenty-nine surveyed countries. The club theory of religion, applied in an agent-based computational model, generates bimodal distributions of member commitment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-87
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Agent-based model
  • Club theory
  • Culture divide
  • Religious divide
  • Sacrifice and stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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