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The Invisible Hand Plays Dice: Eventualities in Religious Markets

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  • Panu Poutvaara

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  • Andreas Wagener

Abstract

Religious participation is much more widespread in the United States than in Europe, while Europeans tend to view sects more suspiciously than Americans. We propose an explanation for these patterns without assuming differences in preferences or market fundamentals. Religious markets may have multiple equilibria, suggesting that observed differences in religious structures may merely be eventualities. Further, equilibria with more sects result in higher welfare and lower membership costs, as secular societies tend to host on average more demanding sects. Our main methodological contribution to the theory of religious markets is endogenizing simultaneously supply and demand of spiritual services.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1238.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1238

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Keywords: sects; religion; tithes; religious markets;

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  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.
  2. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1992. "Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-Riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-91, April.
  3. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  4. Colin Rose, 1993. "Equilibrium and Adverse Selection," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(4), pages 559-569, Winter.
  5. Eli Berman, 2000. "Sect, Subsidy, And Sacrifice: An Economist'S View Of Ultra-Orthodox Jews," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 905-953, August.
  6. Wilson, Charles A, 1979. "Equilibrium and Adverse Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 313-17, May.
  7. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  8. Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
  9. Eli Berman, 2003. "Hamas, Taliban and the Jewish Underground: An Economist's View of Radical Religious Militias," NBER Working Papers 10004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Esther Gal-Or, 1983. "Quality and Quantity Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 590-600, Autumn.
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Cited by:
  1. Helton Saulo & Jeremias Leao, 2011. "Equilibrium, Adverse Selection, and Statistical Distributions," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(3), pages 2066-2074.

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