Department/School

Sociology and Anthropology

Abstract

The rational-choice/market-model of religions really consists of two, separable parts: a model of religious behavior plus a rational-choice explanation of why that behavior occurs. This article examines three key theoretical assumptions of the latter explanation. It shows two of these to be false and the third to be so vague as to be useless. This undercuts a rational-choice psychology as an explanation for religious actions. It undercuts, however, neither the utility of the market-model itself nor of a rational-choice model of human behavior (as opposed to action). Together these can describe the overall structure of the religious marketplace, but cannot — and need not — describe the subjective actions of religious persons.

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Sociology of Religion

Publication Date

1998

Volume

59

Issue

2

Pages

99-115

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.2307/3712075

Document Version

Preprint

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