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Religion, Culture and Entrepreneurship in India



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Religion Culture and Entrepreneurship in India By David B Audretsch Distinguished Professor of Public and Environmental Affairs and Chair of Economic Development Indiana University Nancy S Meyer MPA Candidate 2009 School of Public and Environmental Affairs Indiana University Summary Scholars have long speculated that religious beliefs and practices significantly influence the economic behavior of societies However statistical analysis had not been applied to empirically establish the relationship until recently New research in India analyzes the effects of religion and culture on an individual s choice to engage in entrepreneurial activities Hinduism and its lingering caste system seems to engender a focus on casual labor for individuals under its religious influence while Muslim and Christian populations are more likely to start their own small enterprises These findings indicate the need for innovative social programs and policies to mitigate the effects of religious perceptions in order to foster entrepreneur led economic growth Linking Beliefs to Economics A person s decision to engage in entrepreneurial activities can be attributed to a broad spectrum of individual specific characteristics ranging from risk aversion to personality attributes education and human capital and unemployment Religious beliefs are usually not linked to economic activities such as entrepreneurship however scholars dating back to Adam Smith and Max Weber assert that religion plays a fundamental role in shaping economics It has been argued that values and attitudes are as much a part of the economy as its institutions and policies As a home to a number of influential religions India provides an interesting context in which to evaluate the relationship between religious culture and economic behaviors The main religions of India include Hinduism Buddhism Sikhism Islam Christianity and Jainism Compared to the other main religions of India Hinduism provides little encouragement to change one



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