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Legal Centralization and the Birth of the Secular State

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  • Johnson, Noel D
  • Koyama, Mark

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between the historical process of legal centralization and increased religious toleration by the state. We develop a model in which legal centralization leads to the criminalization of the religious beliefs of a large proportion of the population. This process initially leads to increased persecution, but, because these persecutions are costly, it eventually causes the state to broaden the standards of orthodox belief and move toward religious toleration. We compare the results of the model with historical evidence drawn from two important cases in which religious diversity and state centralization collided in France: the Albigensian crusades of the thirteenth century and the rise of Protestant belief in the sixteenth century. Both instances sup- port our central claim that the secularization of western European state institutions during the early-modern period was driven by the costs of imposing a common set of legal standards on religiously diverse populations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 40887.

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Date of creation: 22 Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:40887

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Keywords: State Capacity; Religion; Secularization; Heresy; Legal Capacity; France;

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References

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Why were the Cathars killed but the Huguenots not?
    by Chris Colvin in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-09-23 15:52:46
  2. Why were the Cathars killed but the Huguenots not?
    by Chris Colvin in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-09-23 15:52:46
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Cited by:
  1. Anderson, R. Warren & Johnson, Noel D & Koyama, Mark, 2013. "From the Persecuting to the Protective State? Jewish Expulsions and Weather Shocks from 1100 to 1800," MPRA Paper 44228, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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