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Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise

Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise

Elgar original reference

Edited by Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni

The recent era of economic turbulence has generated a growing enthusiasm for an increase in new and original economic insights based around the concepts of reciprocity and social enterprise. This stimulating and thought-provoking Handbook not only encourages and supports this growth, but also emphasises and expands upon new topics and issues within the economics discourse.

Chapter 20: Law and religion

Amelia J. Uelmen

Subjects: economics and finance, behavioural and experimental economics, economic psychology, public sector economics, politics and public policy, social entrepreneurship, social policy and sociology, economics of social policy


Businesses which are not publicly traded, such as closely-held and family owned enterprise and cooperatives, and which take numerous forms across the international spectrum, generally face no legal obstacles to the influence of cultural drivers beyond the spheres of economic and business judgment. In contrast, publicly traded corporations in the United States have faced a series of legal constraints. This chapter on the intersecting sets of law, religion and social enterprise considers the topic from three angles. First, in the realm of publicly traded companies, to what extent would legal regimes allow space for the consideration of cultural drivers beyond economic and business concerns – such as religion? Second, what insights might the theory and experience of religiously inspired and informed social enterprise bring to the perceived legal constraints of publicly traded corporations? Third, as a descriptive matter, how do religiously-inspired and religiously-informed social enterprises interact with existing legal regimes? The chapter concludes by noting a few areas for further research and discussion.

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