Lectures hosted by IRES feature distinguished scholars in the economic and sociological study of religion.
»IRES Lecture Series
+-Spring 2013 Lecture Guests
February 7, 2013 Jonathan Fine, Ph.D.
Hosted By OC Hillel - Guest Lecture in POSC/PCST 120: Introduction to International Relations with Dr. Andrea Molle
"Holy War in Judaism, Christianity and Islam: A Comparative Analysis - Past & Present"
10:00-11:15am, Argyros Forum 207
Bio: Dr. Jonathan Fine is the undergraduate advisor of both, the international program in Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy at the Raphael Recanati International School and the Lauder Government School at the IDC (the interdisciplinary center, Herzlyia, Israel) and a researcher at the ICT (The International Institute for Counter Terrorism). He was recently appointed as the academic advisor to the joint program between the IDC and the Maxwell Government School at the University of Syracuse USA. He is a member of ICTAC (the International Counter-Terrorism Academic Community) and the ICSR (The International Center for Study of Radicalization and Political Violence) in Kings College, London. Dr. Fine is also a former advisor on arms control and conflict resolution at the IDF strategic division planning branch. He often lectures Elite IDF units and courses such as the IDF air force pilot course, naval officer course, IDF Commando units, and the IDF Tactical Command College.
February 26, 2013 Anna Lembke, M.D.
"Sacrifice, Stigma, and Free-Riding in Alcoholics Anonymous: A new perspective on behavior change in self-help organizations for addiction"
2:30-3:45pm in Beckman Hall 104Abstract: Economist Laurence Iannaccone posits that behavior change in religious organizations is mediated in part by sacrifice and stigma, which enhances participation, augments club goods that make participation worthwhile, and reduces free-riding. As applied to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a non-religious self-help organization for addiction, Iannaccone’s ideas shed light on the ways in which sacrifice and stigma influence behavior in AA. AA members’ willingness to embrace a stigmatized identity, give up alcohol, and participate in the AA fellowship, creates the club goods that are integral to ‘recovery’ from addiction. Iannaccone’s model furthermore illuminates the problem of free-riding in AA, providing one explanation for the incredible rate of growth of AA over the years, particularly as compared with less ‘strict’ self-help organizations for alcohol use problems, such as Moderation Management
Bio: Dr. Anna Lembke got her undergraduate degree in Humanities at Yale University, and her medical degree at Stanford University. She stayed on at Stanford to complete a residency in psychiatry. She is now a full-time Staff Physician and Senior Research Associate at Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, California. As a member of the Stanford faculty, she sees patients and teaches residents and medical students. She is also involved in clinical research and writing. Her current work focuses on enhancing addiction services in primary care settings. She is also interested in health services research more broadly, particularly as it pertains to co-occurring mood and substance use disorders.
March 5 & 13, 2013 Michael Makowsky, Ph.D.
March 5: "Agent-based Models and the Economics of Non-Market Processes"
2:30-3:45pm in Beckman Hall 104
Abstract: Contemporary research on social and political behavior highlights both the strengths and weaknesses of traditional economic methods. Agent-based models overcome many of these weaknesses. ABM’s simulate the behavior or diverse “agents” who lack perfect rationality, interact within social networks, and operate over time and space. Professor Makowsky will review ABMs that he has developed to analyze religious regionalism, social divides, extremism, revolution, and pandemics.
March 13: "Conflict, Hierarchy, and Social Norms"
3:30-5:00pm in Wilkinson Hall 116
Abstract: Dr. Makowsky’s paper models the joint emergence of cooperation within groups and aggression across groups. He analyzes the evolution of norms and populations by simulating millions of interacting agents with different tendencies toward cooperation and conflict. He finds that hierarchical groups do better when the outcome of conflict favors larger groups. He also finds that successful groups tend to contain two very different types of members. The first type cooperate at rates comparable to those we observe in lab experiments, but a distinct minority almost never cooperate even with members of their own groups. The simulations link to existing research on loyalty, internal versus external conflict, and egalitarian versus hierarchical groups
Bio: Dr. Makowsky is Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Advanced Modeling and Department of Emergency Medicine. His research employs agent-based simulation and applied econometrics to study group formation and dynamics; social contagion, extremism, and bifurcation; increasing returns to scale; and law and regulatory enforcement. His articles have appeared in the American Economic Review, Journal of Law & Economics, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Mathematical Social Science, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, and the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.
March 19, 2013, Brad Warner
"Zen and God"
3:15-5:00pm in the Wallace All Faith's Chapel
Abstract: Zen Buddhism is usually thought of as a Godless religion. According to D.T. Suzuki, “Zen has no God to worship, no ceremonial rites to observe, no future abode to which the dead are destined.” So is Zen some form of spiritual atheism? Writers like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have made a compelling case for the new atheist movement. Karen Armstrong produced a well-reasoned comeback with her book The Case for God. The cornerstone of the debate is at the core of Western philosophy, which holds sway throughout much of the world even outside of Europe and America. Western philosophy is divided into two competing ideologies. We are told that we must either side with the materialists who insist that we are just this body or with spiritual people who say that we are just a mind, or a soul, that resides within the body. Zen says that both of the materialistic and the spiritual views are incomplete and mistaken, that we are neither body nor mind, that our actual reality cannot be defined in such narrow terms. Even the word God is too limiting. Or as Dogen says, “Even the whole universe in ten directions is just a small part of the supreme truth.” Brad’s upcoming book There is No God and He is Your Creator will attempt to make the Zen approach to the question of God comprehensible to a contemporary Western audience steeped in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions.
Bio: Brad Warner is author of the books Hardcore Zen, Sit Down and Shut Up, Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate and Sex Sin and Zen. He is an ordained Zen teacher in the Soto lineage. He has practiced Zen for over 25 years, beginning when he was a student at Kent State University. He was ordained by Gudo Nishijima in 1999. He’s the bass player for the hardcore punk rock group Zero Defex and worked for the company founded by the man who created Godzilla. Brad teaches a style of Zen meditation called shikantaza or "just sitting." The practice involves no mantras, visualizations, riddles to ponder, verbal guidance or other props. As its name indicates, it is the practice of simply sitting and allowing what actually is to manifest itself fully and completely. It takes about five minutes to teach the technique and a lifetime to master.
March 20, 2013 Stephen Haber, Ph.D.
Fragile by Design
3:30-5pm in Wilkinson Hall 116
Abstract: Dr. Haber will be presenting part of his book, Fragile by Design: Banking Crises, Scarce Credit, and Political Bargains (co-authored with Charles Calomiris, Columbia University). This book, (forthcoming from Princeton University Press) looks at why it is so hard for countries to create stable and efficient banking systems. The central message comes down to this: the shortcomings of societies' banking systems are predictable consequences of political bargains, and those bargains are structured by the fundamental political institutions of those societies. That is, societies do not "choose" their banking systems in any meaningful sense of the word. Rather, they get the banking system that their political institutions will permit. In order to demonstrate these ideas, we range across countries and time, going back as far as the 17th century, and up through the Subprime crisis.
Bio: Stephen Haber is the A.A. and Jeanne Welch Milligan Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and director of the Social Science History Program at Stanford University. He is also the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution; senior fellow of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research; senior fellow of the Center for International Development; and research economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research focuses on the relationship between political organization and economic growth. Most of this research has focused on Latin America, particularly Mexico and Brazil.
April 24, 2013 Noel Johnson, Ph.D.
"From the Persecuting to the Protective State? Jewish Expulsion and Weather Shocks from 1100 to 1800"
3:30-5:00pm in Wilkinson Hall 116
Bio: Dr. Johnson is an assistant professor in Economics at George Mason University. He received his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. His primary research interests are in the fields of Economic History, Public Economics, and New Institutional Economics.
+-Fall 2012 Lecture Guests
Sept. 29, 2012 Joseph Baker, Ph.D.
Guest Lecturer in ANTH 397: Cultural Mythology with P. Apodaca
Bio: Baker is an Assistant professor of Sociology at East Tennessee State University and a Senior Research Associate with the Association of Religion Data Archive. His research is focused on religion in the U.S.; religious belief, practice and experience; religion and politics; secularisms; ideology and perceived knowledge; paranormal subcultures; public interface with science and technology; micro sociological theory; deviance and social control. Baker earned his Ph.D. in Sociology (concentrations in religion and deviance/criminology) at Baylor University.
Oct. 9, 2012 Christopher Parsons, Ph.D.
"Human Capital and the Supply of Religion"
1-2:15pm in Beckman Hall 104
Abstract: We study the role of labor inputs in the production of religion using comprehensive data on every Oklahoma Methodist congregation during 1961-2003. Pastors have large effects on church growth: replacing a 25th percentile pastor with a 75th percentile one increases annual attendance growth by three percent, similar to the effect of a ten percent increase in the surrounding county’s population. A pastor’s performance in his first church – which is largely the result of random assignment – is strongly predictive of his performance in future congregations, suggesting a causal effect of pastors on church growth. Moreover, the movement of pastors within the Oklahoma ministry is consistent with efficient use of labor resources: low-performing pastors are much more likely to be rotated, consistent with a model of pastor-church matching. Additionally, high-performing pastors are moved to larger congregations, and low-performing pastors are more likely to exit the sample.
Bio: Parsons is an Assistant Professor of Finance at the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego. His research is focused on corporate finance, labor economics, capital structure, real estate, urban economics and market microstructure. Prior to coming to the Rady School, Parsons was an Assistant Professor of Finance at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before his position at the Kenan-Flagler School, Parsons was an Assistant Professor of Finance at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, Montreal. Parsons earned his Ph.D. in Finance at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his B.S. with Highest Honors in Chemical Engineering.
+-Fall 2011 Lecture Guests
Sept. 20 and 21, 2011 Tony Gill, Ph.D.
Abstract: In recent decades, religious organizations have seen an increasing assault on their property rights. Various regulations have been imposed by local governments that restrict the ability of churches to build and/or expanding meeting facilities, and have increased the general cost of “doing religious business.” Such burdens represent a significant assault on religious liberty as enumerated by the free exercise clause in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. While the U.S. Congress passed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act in 2000 to deal with this issue, many local governments continue aggressively to limit the property rights of churches. This paper presents a number of causal factors explaining this trend, highlighting the important role that tax revenue and public school enrollment plays in determining the nature and extent of property regulations. I also highlight how asymmetries in power and resources favoring local governments over independent congregations enable violations of religious property rights to persist despite federal regulations guaranteeing churches from such abuses.
Sept. 21: “Market Models of Religious Behavior”
Bio: Anthony Gill (Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1994) is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington, adjunct professor of Sociology at the UW, and a non-resident scholar at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion. He specializes in political economy and religion & politics, with an emphasis on church-state relations, religious liberty and religious economies. He is author of The Political Origins of Religious Liberty (Cambridge 2007) and Rendering Unto Caesar: The Catholic Church and the State in Latin America (University of Chicago Press, 1998). Professor Gill has also published numerous journal articles, book chapters and has been a guest host for a local talk radio program. His latest endeavor is a weekly and free podcast series called Research on Religion that seeks to make social scientific studies of religion more accessible to the public. Currently, he is studying how governments regulate religious organizations and how this impacts the level of religiosity in society. In addition to studying religion & politics, his interests relate to methodological and analytical issues surrounding comparative political analysis, including research design, rational choice and game theory. Outside of academia, Prof. Gill is interested in camping, outdoor cooking, martial arts, property rights, the Old West, and hardware stores. He is intending to write a book about the economics or hardware stores in the near future.
Oct. 11, 2011 Andrea Molle, Ph.D.
“The Alien, the Devil and the Holy Water: Catholics and the Paranormal in Italy”
Abstract: Although Catholicism remains the prevailing belief system in Italy, recent research shows that high SES Italians subscribe to a broad religious portfolio rather than to exclusive traditional Catholic beliefs. In the U.S., the paranormal is a phenomenon more closely associated with Protestantism, while in in Italy, it is surprisingly common among Catholics. This paper focuses on how Italians define “paranormal:” various examples and research are presented to discuss and examine some of the ways in which the paranormal finds expression in the context of contemporary Catholicism in Italy. We also use national survey data to assess whether the same “curvilinear” patterns found in North America are also present in Italy. The processes through which certain beliefs and practices are defined as “paranormal,” and thus beyond the cultural boundaries of institutionalized religion and science, help explain these patterns.
Bio: Andrea Molle is post-doctoral Research Associate at Chapman University. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology, with an emphasis on Anthropology and Research Methodology, from the University of Milano. Prior to Chapman, Molle was an Associate Researcher of Sociology of Religion at Baylor University. From November 2006 to November 2008, he conducted anthropological research on Spirituality in Japan, working at the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture (Nagoya) under the JSPS program. He is also Associate Researcher with the Italian School for East Asian Studies in Kyoto. His current projects at Chapman focus on computational social science; how cultural diversity impacts research methods in sociology; religious deviance and terrorism; and Japanese new religions and non-Christian spirituality.
Oct. 25, 2011 Chris Bader, Ph.D.
“Improving the Measurement of Religion”
Bio: Christopher Bader is a Professor of Sociology, a board member of IRES and a board member of ASREC. He was principal investigator of the first two waves of the Baylor Religion Survey, a nationwide survey of US religious beliefs, and is Associate Director of the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA), an online archive of religion survey data funded by the Templeton Foundation and Lilly Foundation and supported by Penn State University and Chapman University. He received a Ph.D in Sociology from the University of Washington. To date, he has published 27 articles in journals in the fields of sociology, deviance, criminology, the sociology of religion and education. His first two books America's Four Gods from Oxford University Press and Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture from NYU Press appeared in October, 2010. He currently has several articles and two books in progress.
Nov. 8, 2011 Shoshana Amyra Grossbard, Ph.D.
"Love and Children"Abstract: The cost of children includes all monetary outlays, ranging from cribs to college tuition, as well as time costs. These time costs have been measured either in terms of time spent on childcare and related household production or as foregone parental leisure. It has also been documented that children are costly in terms of foregone happiness. In this paper we examine how children affect respondents’ feelings of being loved by their current partners. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey 1997 cohort (hereafter NLSY97) we estimate linear regressions of respondents’ assessments of their partners’ love valued from 0 to 10. Our findings indicate a further sense in which children are costly: their presence appears to be associated with lower levels of spousal love. This appears to hold for women more than for men, and for Whites more than for Blacks.
Bio: Shoshana Grossbard is Professor of Economics at San Diego State University, founding editor of the Review of Economics of the Household published by Springer, an IZA fellow, and a CESifo fellow. She has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford; a visiting scholar at Columbia University, CES in Munich, IZA in Bonn, UCSD, the University of Zaragoza, Bar Ilan University, and ZEW in Mannheim; a visiting collaborator at Princeton University; and has taught economics and sociology at Tel Aviv and Bar Ilan University. She obtained her Ph.D. in 1978 from the University of Chicago, where she learned the New Home Economics from its founders, Gary Becker and Jacob Mincer, and as a student developed her first non-unitary model of household decision-making. She has published 5 books and more than 50 articles on the determinants of marriage, consumption, and labor supply and on the law and economics of household decisions. Her books include: “On the Economics of Marriage, a Theory of Marriage, Labor, and Divorce” (1993), “The Expansion of Economics” (co-edited with Christopher Clague, M.E. Sharpe, 2002), “Marriage and the Economy, Theory and Evidence from Advanced Industrialized Societies” (Cambridge University Press, 2003), and “Jacob Mincer, a Pioneer of Modern Labor Economics” (2006). She has presented her work at many universities in the U.S.A. and Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and the U.K. She is fluent in English, French, Hebrew, Spanish, and Dutch.
Nov. 28, 2011 Paul Oslington, Ph.D.
“The Place of the Economics of Religion in the Dialogue between Economists and Theologians”
Abstract: The recent resurgence of interest in the economic analysis of religious behavior and religious institutions represents is the first serious engagement between economists and religion scholars since the separation of political economy from the disciplines of theology and moral philosophy in the 19th century. How deep as this been? Is it a dialogue or a monologue? What is its significance for the contemporary discipline of economics and the disciplines of religious studies and theology?
Bio: Paul Oslington was appointed to a new created chair jointly in the School of Business and School of Theology at Australian Catholic University in September 2008. He was previously Associate Professor of Economics at University of New South Wales, and held visiting positions at University of Oxford in 1999, University of British Columbia and Regent College Vancouver in 2003, and Princeton Theological Seminary and University in 2006/7. His PhD in Economics and Master of Economics & Econometrics with Honours were completed at the University of Sydney, and Bachelor of Divinity through Melbourne College of Divinity. Paul's research interests include international trade and labour markets, the history of economic thought, and relationships between economics and religion. Publications include books The Theory of International Trade and Unemployment 2006, Economics and Religion 2003, and Adam Smith as Theologian 2011. as well as articles in economics and religion journals including Economic Record, Australian Economic Papers, Economics Letters, World Economy, Review of International Economics, European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, History of Economics Review, History of Political Economy, Studies in Christian Ethics and Theological Studies. Current projects include a monograph for Routledge Political Economy as Natural Theology: Smith Malthus and their Followers, a Handbook of Economics and Christianity for Oxford University Press and a monograph for Harvard University Press God and Economic Order.
Dec. 6, 2011 Jean-Paul Carvalho, Ph.D.
“A Theory of Veiling and Veiling Prohibitions”
Abstract: Veiling among Muslim women is modeled as a commitment mechanism that limits temptation to deviate from religious norms of behavior. Our analysis suggests that veiling is a strategy for integration, enabling women to take up outside economic opportunities while preserving their reputation within the community. This accounts for puzzling features of the new veiling movement since the 1970s. Veiling also has surprising effects on the intergenerational transmission of values. Compulsory veiling laws can lead to a decline in religiosity. Bans on veiling can inhibit social integration and increase religiosity.
Bio: Jean-Paul Carvalho is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of California, Irvine. His work lies in the field of political economy. Using game theory and historical methods, I study the role of culture and identity in institutional change. My graduate training occurred at Oxford University (D.Phil., M.Phil.) under the supervision of H. Peyton Young. He is a member of the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences at UC Irvine and a Faculty Fellow of the Association for Analytical Learning about Islam & Muslim societies (AALIMS). He previously held positions as Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Economics at Oxford University and Associate Member of Nuffield College. In 2009, he was named a Robert Solow Fellow of the Cournot Centre for Economic Studies in Paris and is a past recipient of the John Monash Scholarship which is presented by the Governor General of Australia.