Scholars Debate: Could Economics Benefit from a Deeper Engagement with Religion?

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (June 3, 2014) -- The Acton Institute has sponsored the latest online symposium for Econ Journal Watch (EJW) titled, “Does Economics Need an Infusion of Religious or Quasi-Religious Formulations?”

One of the common criticisms of professional economics today is that it lacks a deeper engagement with religious faith, says Daniel B. Klein, editor of EJW. “If such richer concepts are worth incorporating, does that necessarily bring theism or religiosity into the economists’ discourse?” he asks.

In his prologue to the symposium, Klein examines whether “mainstream economics tends to preclude religious or quasi-religious understandings, whether that is a bad thing, and about the relationship between such understandings and religious faith.”

Professor Emerita of economics at Hope College, Robin Klay begins the symposium with her essay, “Where do Economists of Faith Hang Out? Their Journals and Associations, plus Luminaries Among Them.” Klay is a previous lecturer at Acton University and a member of the Journal of Markets and Morality executive editorial board. EJW has compiled 17 response essays that come from various religious backgrounds and ideological positions, offering varied and differing insights.  

Symposium contributors:

Econ Journal Watch is an electronic journal that, in addition to publishing original essays, commentaries, and critiques about economics, takes special care to point out when authors use “inappropriate assumptions, weak chains of argument, phony claims of relevance, omissions of pertinent truths, and irreplicability.” Visit it online at

About the Acton Institute
With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles." For more on the Acton Institute, please visit

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at