Jeanet Sinding Bentzen

Jeanet Sinding Bentzen

Associate Professor - Promotion Programme

Find more information on my website here.

Ultimately, I am interested in why some countries are richer than others are. This interest has brought me to focus on religion and its’ consequences for society. Religion obviously influences our internal values and beliefs, but also the institutions that surround us. My research is mainly empirical and I use datasets spanning thousands or millions of individuals or companies across several societies. My general research interests are political economy, cultural values, economic growth, and institutions.

Current research

I currently focus on religiosity, meaning the degree of religious beliefs, independently of the God(s) a person believes in. The idea is that people or societies are more similar in terms of their religiosity than in terms of their particular religious beliefs. For instance, a highly devout Protestant has more in common with a highly devout Muslim than he or she does with a less religious Protestant. One challenge is measuring the intensity of religious beliefs. I currently am conducting research showing than one can use peoples’ first names to infer the religiosity of their parents. We can use these novel measures to examine the consequences of differences in religiosity across various societies across the World.


I teach two mandatory bachelor courses. Economic history investigates the historical origins of modern growth differences and Philosophy of Science deals with the limits and benefits of economic models – what can we use economic models for? And what can we not use them for? I also teach the seminar "Fundamental Determinants of Economic Performance", where we investigate empirically the deep determinants of economic outcomes; cultural values, institutions, and geography. In addition, I supervise bachelor and master.

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