Religious beliefs, gambling attitudes, and financial market outcomes

Alok Kumar, Jeremy K. Page, Oliver G. Spalt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

237 Scopus citations


This study investigates whether geographic variation in religion-induced gambling norms affects aggregate market outcomes. We conjecture that gambling propensity would be stronger in regions with higher concentrations of Catholics relative to Protestants. Consistent with our conjecture, we show that in regions with higher Catholic-Protestant ratios, investors exhibit a stronger propensity to hold lottery-type stocks, broad-based employee stock option plans are more popular, the initial day return following an initial public offering is higher, and the magnitude of the negative lottery-stock premium is larger. Collectively, these results indicate that religion-induced gambling attitudes impact investors' portfolio choices, corporate decisions, and stock returns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-708
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Financial Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


  • Employee stock option plans
  • Gambling
  • IPOs
  • Institutional investors
  • Religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management


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