• Some people might feel happier if they get their hands on some more money.
• Some people might feel happier if they use their hands to pray.
Leading some to the question : is it feasible to equate the two? In other words, is it possible to put a price on prayer?
Timothy T. Brown, Ph.D. (Assistant Adjunct Professor, Health Policy & Management Associate Director for Research, at the Berkeley Center for Health Technology) has entertained just such an idea. And has a paper scheduled to appear in the journal Applied Economics, Volume 45, Issue 15, 2013. The article : A Monetary Valuation of Individual Religious Behavior: The Case of Prayer is currently available (to non-subscribers) for $36.00.
It found that :
“Praying at the frequency of the national mean of 8.1 prayer sessions weekly is valued at $53,055 (2004 dollars) per annum.”
Those readers who don’t wish to part with $36, but who would nonetheless like to further explore the idea, can turn instead to a substantially similar (though subtly different) working paper, by the same author, entitled :A Monetary Valuation of Individual Religious Behavior: The Case of Prayer which found that :
“Praying at the frequency of the national mean of 8.1 prayer sessions weekly is valued at $89,100 (2004 dollars) per annum.”
Put another way :
“… the amount of happiness that an extra prayer session per week is worth is the same amount of happiness that $11,000 provides. At the sample mean of 8.1 prayers per week, individuals are 9% more happy relative to those who do not pray at all which is valued at $89,100 per annum.”