Economics Working Papers

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Working Paper

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Despite their non-traditional approach, megachurches have grown significantly in the United States since 1980. This paper constructs a model of religious investment to examine how “seeker”-oriented megachurches succeed in attracting and retaining new members. The model illustrates that megachurches have been able to encourage additional religious investment through group-based activities. Hence, these activities may be viewed as a subsidy for religious investment. As a result, individuals associated with megachurches increase their religious investment relative to individuals associated with non-megachurches. Data from the FACT2000 survey provide evidence that megachurches employ groups to help subsidize individuals’ religious investment, and that the resulting religious capital rises among members of megachurches relative to members of non-megachurches.

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