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The Rational BelieverChoices and Decisions in the Madrasas of Pakistan$
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Masooda Bano

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450440

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450440.001.0001

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Formation of a Preference

Formation of a Preference

Why Join a Madrasa?

(p.99) 5 Formation of a Preference
The Rational Believer

Masooda Bano

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the factors shaping individual preference for religion. It addresses two key questions: Why do parents choose to send children to madrasas? How do parents select a particular madrasa for their child? The first question provides the means to explore factors shaping preference for religious education; the second illuminates the decision-making processes that parents follow in executing their religious preference. Examining the socioeconomic profile of students from 110 madrasas, the chapter rejects the notion that the demand for madrasa education is the result of poverty. Drawing on 250 interviews with parents and students, it illustrates how the notion of transaction costs emerging from high uncertainty and existential concern can help explain the demand for religion. Further, it shows how such transaction costs are enhanced in societies with weak formal institutions, thus leading to a higher demand for religion.

Keywords:   religious preference, religion, madrasas, Islamic schools, religious education, madrasa education

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