|M.Sc Student||Ben Yaakov Barak|
|Subject||The Relationships between Religion and Economic Growth -|
The Case of the Religious Kibbutz Federation (RKF)
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisor||Professor Kim Moshe|
The following paper deals with the grand topic of interaction between religion and economics, as reflected in the economy of Kibbutzim. In the outset of the paper an extensive literature survey and theoretical discussion on the interaction between religion and economic development is presented. The following is a comparative empiric study on the economies of Kibbutzim of the Religious Kibbutz Federation (RKF) versus Kibbutzim of the Secular Kibbutz Movements (SKM). The research examines the existence of performance difference, its characteristics and statistical significance. The research period is 1996-2002. The research data consists of annual financial reports and Demographics of most of the Kibbutzim in Israel. The results of the statistical examination show a clear and statistically significant advantage to the RKF over the SKM kibbutzim. This advantage is achieved despite many drawbacks on the RKF kibbutzim, as they are younger, settled in harsher climate zones, have worse land, face many more security problems, have much higher birth rates, are inclined on an agrarian economic activity whose margin constantly erodes over time and, of times, has to restrict their economic activities due to religious norms. The research concludes that in light of the findings, and in view of the many drawbacks facing the RKF Kibbutzim, the root for their economic success and excellence over the SKM Kibbutzim is religion. The religious beliefs, characterising the RKF kibbutzim, encourage values of restraint, self-control, modesty, altruism, conservatism, responsibility and high level of morality. These values contribute to a rational judgment and a better, more responsible, economic performance in the long term.