The Economics of Religion in India, Iyer, Sriya. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press: 2018, 305.


Written by Sriya Iyer, The Economics of Religion in India provides a unique insight on religion from an economic perspective. Iyer has successfully attempted to bring light to the little-studied branch of economics known as the economics of religion with a specific focus on India, a country famous for its religious diversity. In this book, Iyer has intelligently used economic analysis and tools to explore how inequality, education, social trends and technology are affected by and affect the religious groups. She has used India Religion Survey to carry out the analysis at the macro as well as micro-level. Her findings are based on her ten years of research in which she surveyed 600 religious organisations of five various faiths in seven states.

This book is divided into nine chapters. In the first few chapters of the book, Iyer analyses the dependence of the Indian society on religion and historical and contemporary socio-economic differences between various religious groups and how they compete, reach out to newly converts and provide religious services. Iyer states that while it was Adam Smith who came up with an economic approach to study religion, it happened in the late 1990s when the economists started developing an approach more comprehensively. She stresses the need to look at religion from an economic lens in order to uncover the links between religion, poverty and inequality.

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