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Variations in Churchgoing Rates in England in 1851: Supply-side Deficiency or Demand-led Decline

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  • Alasdair Crockett

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    (Nuffield College, Oxford)

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    Abstract

    In the sociology of religion of the past thirty years or so, one can identify three major approaches to the relation of religion and modernity: secularization theory, the Stark-Bainbridge rational choice theory, and the Finke-Stark “supply-side” theory. In this paper, I study churchgoing rates in England in 1851 to examine which of these three theoretical approaches appears the most valid. Victorian England provides a compelling case study. Not only are the data very good (uniquely so in the case of Britain), but also England in 1851 takes us back to one of the original locales of urban-industrial development. My conclusion is that both “supply-side” (of religion) and “secularization” processes were influencing English churchgoing rates in 1851. However, the former were much more limited and transient in their effect, being restricted to isolated rural areas. In the more urban places, where most people lived, secularization processes were operating. There are parallels between this “duality” of process operating in rural and urban England in 1851 and the fact that churchgoing appears to have increased during the nineteenth century up to that point, but declined, unabated, thereafter.

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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/2272/36Crockett.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford in its series Oxford University Economic and Social History Series with number _036.

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    Length: 40 pages
    Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:nuf:esohwp:_036

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    Web page: http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/economics/

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    1. Hans-Joachim Voth & Dan H. Andersen, 1997. "Neutrality and Mediterranean Shipping Under Danish Flag, 1750-1807," Economics Series Working Papers 1997-W18, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Hans-Joachim Voth, 1997. "Time and Work in Eighteenth-Century London," Economics Series Working Papers 1997-W21, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Avner Offer, 2000. "Economic Welfare Measurements and Human Well-Being," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _034, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    4. Paul David, 1997. "Path Dependence and the Quest for Historical Economics: One More chorus of Ballad of QWERTY," Economics Series Working Papers 1997-W20, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:
    1. Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, 2006. "Educational Disparity in East and West Pakistan, 1947-71: Was East Pakistan Discriminated Against?," Economics Series Working Papers 2006-W63, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Regina Grafe & Camilla Brautaset, 2006. "The Quiet Transport Revolution: Returns to Scale, Scope and Network Density in Norway`s Nineteenth-Century Sailing Fleet," Economics Series Working Papers 2006-W62, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Jane Humphries & Tim Leunig, 2007. "Cities, Market Integration and Going to Sea: Stunting and the Standard of Living in Early Nineteenth-Century England and Wales," Economics Series Working Papers 2007-W66, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    4. Guillaume Daudin, 2008. "Domestic Trade and Market Size in Late Eighteenth-Century France," Economics Series Working Papers 69, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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