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Religious Liberty, Economic Freedom, and Development

Leaders: Thomas Farr Timothy Shah

From 2014 to 2016, the Religious Freedom Project's Economic Working Group focused on the impact of religious freedom on economic freedom, political economy, and development. Participating scholars were economists, development specialists, political scientists, and students of Islam with relevant expertise on economic issues. They had a broad regional focus, analyzing issues in the West, the Middle East and North Africa, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The group analyzed the importance of religious freedom for entrepreneurship, poverty alleviation, property rights, the dignity and equality of women in the workforce, family structure and stability, and social mobility in India. This project expanded on work conducted by RFP scholars from 2011 to 2014.

About RFP Working Groups

The Religious Freedom Project engaged major new questions not often broached in contemporary debates over the meaning and value of religious freedom. What is the relationship between religious freedom, other fundamental freedoms, and societal flourishing? What economic and political benefits accrue to societies that afford full and free expression to the religious impulses that are deeply embedded in the human experience? Can religious freedom contribute to the consolidation and longevity of democracy, to economic growth and reductions in poverty, or to the equality of women?

To address these questions with empirical data and rigorous scholarship the RFP commissioned some of the most outstanding scholars in America. The scholars comprised two working groups, and together they formed an interdisciplinary research team under Director Thomas Farr and Associate Director Timothy Shah.

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Project Leaders

Thomas Farr headshot

Thomas Farr

Religious Freedom Institute

Timothy Shah headshot

Timothy Shah

Religious Freedom Institute/Baylor University


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Project Scholars

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