State and Religion
AbstractState and religion have historically had an uneasy relationship, at times being close allies, at others harsh adversaries, and at still others largely independent. This paper develops an economic model of this relationship, where the state's objective is to maximize net tax revenue. Religious goods benefit the state in two ways: first, they provide utility to citizens, thus allowing the state to extract more taxes before running up against citizens' reservation utility (the point at which they would revolt), and second, they potentially provide legitimacy to the state, thereby lowering the costs of tax collection. If the latter effect is strong enough, the state may find it optimal to take control of religion, either to enhance its legitimizing effect, or to suppress its delegitimizing effect. Greater competition in the religion market and democratic polity make it less likely for the state to control religion. To evaluate the model's implications, we use recent cross-country data on the relationship between religion and state, including variables from the "Religion and State Project" and measures coded from the 2001, 2003, and 2005 International Religious Freedom reports. We also examine in more detail some of the paradigmatic cases indicated by the model, presenting various types of evidence from current and historical examples of each case.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2008-04.
Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2008
Date of revision: Mar 2009
Publication status: Forthcoming in the Journal of Comparative Economics
Note: We acknowledge the comments of participants in the Economics Department Brownbag Seminar, February 7, 2008. We especially appreciate the comments of Dhammika Dharmapala, Dick Langlois, Lanse Minkler, Jared Rubin, and Christian Zimmermann. We also acknowledge the research assistance of Moussa Diop, Parag Waknis, and Michael Stone.
Contact details of provider:
Postal: University of Connecticut 341 Mansfield Road, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063
Phone: (860) 486-4889
Fax: (860) 486-4463
Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
More information through EDIRC
Church; state; religion; legitimacy; power;
Other versions of this item:
- H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
- P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
- N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
- Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-02-09 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
- Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
- McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2005.
"Which Countries Have State Religions?,"
3710663, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
- Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 2006.
"The Power to Tax,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521027922, December.
- Cosgel, Metin & Miceli, Thomas & Ahmed, Rasha, 2009.
"Law, state power, and taxation in Islamic history,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 704-717, September.
- Metin Cosgel & Rasha Ahmed & Thomas Miceli, 2007. "Law, State Power, and Taxation in Islamic History," Working papers 2007-01, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2008.
- Metin Cosgel & Rasha Ahmed & Thomas Miceli, 2008. "Law, State Power, and Taxation in Islamic History," Papers on Economics of Religion 08/02, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
- Coşgel, Metin M. & Miceli, Thomas J. & Rubin, Jared, 2012.
"The political economy of mass printing: Legitimacy and technological change in the Ottoman Empire,"
Journal of Comparative Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 357-371.
- Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli & Jared Rubin, 2009. "Guns and Books: Legitimacy, Revolt and Technological Change in the Ottoman Empire," Working papers 2009-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli & Jared Rubin, 2010. "The Political Economy of Mass Printing: Legitimacy and Technological Change in the Ottoman Empire," Working papers 2010-02, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2012.
- Johnson, Noel D & Koyama, Mark, 2012.
"Legal Centralization and the Birth of the Secular State,"
40887, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Johnson, Noel D. & Koyama, Mark, 2013. "Legal centralization and the birth of the secular state," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 959-978.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kasey Kniffin).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.