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The Economics of Religious Indulgences

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  • Alberto Cassone
  • Carla Marchese

Abstract

We model the Catholic Church as a heterogeneous club managed by a specialized agency that pursues the enlargement of the club within given constraints. Religious indulgences induce the self selection of members, based on their attitudes towards risk. Highly risk-averse members do not relax their moral behaviour even if indulgences are available. Less risk-averse members prefer indulgences, but their availabiltiy is beneficial to the Church. In fiscal and criminal law there are institutions (amnesties) that parallel religious indulgences: here, too, a derogation from a general rule may be justified on the grounds of efficiency.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 155 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 429-

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Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(199909)155:3_429:teori_2.0.tx_2-k

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Cited by:
  1. Nuno Garoupa & Pedro Pita Barros, 2001. "An economic theory of church strictness," Economics Working Papers 563, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

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