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宗教对美国的社会经济贡献:一项实证分析

14 Sep, 2018

葛百彦(Brian Grim)是美国宗教自由与企业基金会总裁,近年来曾多次访问本中心进行学术交流。如要了解宗教如何与美国资本主义社会相适应,如何在资本主义建设中发挥作用,可参考此文。

[内容提要] 本文概述了首个记录在案的、针对宗教对美国社会的经济价值的定量估算。具体而言,本研究提供了保守估算、中等估算和乐观估算。本研究最保守的估算,即仅着眼于基于信仰的组织,为每年3780亿美元,即超过万亿美元三分之一。从经济的视角来看,这一数字比全球两大科技巨头——苹果和微软——年收入的总和还要多。尽管此种估算具体数据最为翔实,我们认为它必然是一种低估,因为它关注的是年收入,而不是宗教组织提供的商品和服务的公平市价。我们的第二种估算,即中等估算,试图通过两种方式来纠正这种偏差:对宗教组织提供的商品和服务的公平市价进行估算,以及将有宗教渊源的企业的贡献考虑在内。这种中等估算认为宗教对美国社会的价值每年超过1万亿美元。我们的第三种估算,即乐观估算,承认信众的行为在某种意义上(尽管不完全)受到信仰理念的激发和指导。这种乐观估计基于具有宗教背景的美国人的家庭收入,并估计宗教对美国社会的价值为每年4.8万亿美元,相当于美国国内生产总值(GDP)的近1/3。最后,我们讨论了本研究的局限性,并指出了几种研究路径以供在本研究基础上加以拓展。

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The Socio-economic Contribution of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis

Brian J. Grim and Melissa E. Grim

Abstract

This article summarizes the first documented quantitative national estimates of the economic value of religion to U.S. society. Specifically, the study provides conservative, mid-range, and high estimates. The study’s most conservative estimate, which takes into account only the revenues of faith-based organizations, is $378 billion annually – or more than a third of a trillion dollars. By way of economic perspective, this is more than the global annual revenues of tech giants Apple and Microsoft combined. While this first estimate has the most concrete data, we believe that it is certainly an undervaluation because it focuses on annual revenues rather than on the fair market value of the goods and services religious organizations provide. Our second mid-range estimate attempts to correct for this in two ways: by providing an estimate of the fair market value of goods and services provided by religious organizations, and by including the contribution of businesses with religious roots. This mid-range estimate puts the value of religion to U.S. society at over $1 trillion annually. Our third, higher-end estimate recognizes that people of faith conduct their affairs to some extent (however imperfectly) inspired and guided by their faith ideals. This higher-end estimate is based on the household incomes of religiously affiliated Americans, and places the value of faith to U.S. society at $4.8 trillion annually, or the equivalent of nearly a third of America’s gross domestic product (GDP). Finally, we discuss the limitations of this study and suggest several possible lines of research that could build upon and extend this research.

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