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Project Citation: 

Thunstrom, Linda, and Noy, Shiri. The value of thoughts and prayers. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2019-09-06.

Project Description

Summary:  View help for Summary A standard response of both policy-makers and private citizens to hardships—from natural disasters to mass shootings—is to offer “thoughts and prayers.” Critics argue that such gestures are meaningless and may obstruct structural reforms intended to mitigate catastrophes. In this study, we elicit the value of receiving thoughts and prayers from strangers following adversity. We find that Christians value thoughts and prayers from religious strangers and priests, while atheists and agnostics are “prayer averse”—willing to pay to avoid receiving prayers. Further, while indifferent to receiving thoughts from other secular people, they negatively value thoughts from Christians.  

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