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An economic theory of church strictness

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  • Nuno Garoupa
  • Pedro Pita Barros

Abstract

This paper makes several contributions to the growing literature on the economics of religion. First, we explicitly introduce spatial- location models into the economics of religion. Second, we offer a new explanation for the observed tendency of state (monopoly) churches to locate toward the "low-tension" end of the "strictness continuum" (in a one-dimensional product space): This result is obtained through the conjunction of "benevolent preferences" (denominations care about the aggregate utility of members) and asymmetric costs of going to a more or less strict church than one prefers. We also derive implications regarding the relationship between religious strictness and membership. The driving forces of our analysis, religious market interactions and asymmetric costs of membership, high-light new explanations for some well-established stylized facts. The analysis opens the way to new empirical tests, aimed at confronting the implications of our model against more traditional explanations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 563.

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Date of creation: Aug 2001
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:563

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Keywords: Location theory; economics of religion;

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References

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  1. Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
  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, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-91, April.
  3. Alberto Cassone & Carla Marchese, 1999. "The Economics of Religious Indulgences," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 155(3), pages 429-, September.
  4. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  5. Montgomery, James D, 1996. "Contemplations on the Economic Approach to Religious Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 443-47, May.
  6. Ekelund, Robert B, Jr & Hebert, Robert F & Tollison, Robert D, 1989. "An Economic Model of the Medieval Church: Usury as a Form of Rent Seeking," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 307-31, Fall.
  7. Nilssen, Tore & Sorgard, Lars, 2002. "A public firm challenged by entry: duplication or diversity?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 259-274, March.
  8. Ekelund, Robert Jr. & Hebert, Robert F. & Tollison, Robert D., 1992. "The economics of sin and redemption : Purgatory as a market-pull innovation?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 1-15, September.
  9. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1995. "Risk, Rationality, and Religious Portfolios," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(2), pages 285-95, April.
  10. Nilssen, T., 1996. "Sequential Location when Transportation Costs Are Asymmetric," Memorandum 36/1996, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  11. Sullivan, Dennis H, 1985. "Simultaneous Determination of Church Contributions and Church Attendance," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 23(2), pages 309-20, April.
  12. Lipford, Jody & McCormick, Robert E. & Tollison, Robert D., 1993. "Preaching matters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 235-250, August.
  13. Davidson, Audrey B. & Ekelund, Robert Jr., 1997. "The medieval church and rents from marriage market regulations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 215-245, February.
  14. Ekelund, Robert B. & Hebert, Robert F. & Tollison, Robert D. & Anderson, Gary M. & Davidson, Audrey B., 1997. "Sacred Trust: The Medieval Church as an Economic Firm," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780195103373, October.
  15. Dieter Schmidtchen & Achim Mayer, 1997. "Established Clergy, Friars and the Pope: Some Institutional Economics of the Medieval Church," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 153(1), pages 122-, March.
  16. Brooks Hull & Frederick Bold, 1998. "Product Variety in Religious Markets," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(1), pages 1-19.
  17. Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1977. "Household Allocation of Time and Religiosity: Replication and Extension," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(2), pages 415-23, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Esa Mangeloja, 2003. "Application of Economic Concepts on Religious Behavior," Others, EconWPA 0310003, EconWPA.
  2. Benito Arrunada, . "Catholic Confessions of Sin as Third Party Moral Enforcement," Gruter Institute Working Papers on Law, Economics, and Evolutionary Biology, Berkeley Electronic Press 3-1-1013, Berkeley Electronic Press.
  3. Ferrero, Mario, 2008. "The triumph of Christianity in the Roman empire: An economic interpretation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 73-87, March.
  4. Jean-Paul Carvalho & Mark Koyama, 2011. "Development and� Religious Polarization: The Emergence of Reform and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism," Economics Series Working Papers 560, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Simon Fan, C., 2008. "Religious participation and children's education: A social capital approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 303-317, February.
  6. Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2004. "The Invisible Hand Plays Dice: Eventualities in Religious Markets," CESifo Working Paper Series 1238, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Frijters, Paul & Barón, Juan D., 2010. "The Cult of Theoi: Economic Uncertainty and Religion," IZA Discussion Papers 4902, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. C. Reggiani & G. Rossini, 2008. "Religious Attitudes and Home Bias," Working Papers 632, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  9. Arano, Kathleen G. & Blair, Benjamin F., 2008. "Modeling religious behavior and economic outcome: Is the relationship bicausal?: Evidence from a survey of Mississippi households," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 2043-2053, October.
  10. Oslington, Paul, 2005. "Deus Economicus," MPRA Paper 962, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Oz Shy, 2005. "Dynamic Models of Religious Conformity and Conversion: Theory and Calibrations," CIG Working Papers, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG) SP II 2005-12, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  12. Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2013. "Equilibria in unidirectional spatial models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 146-149.
  13. Ayman Reda, 2012. "Religious Charities and Government Funding," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 331-342, August.
  14. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:26:y:2004:i:1:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Makowsky, Michael, 2009. "Religious Extremism, Clubs, and Civil Liberties: A Model of Religious Populations," MPRA Paper 14358, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Michael McBride, 2005. "Why Hasn’t Economic Growth Killed Religion?," Working Papers 050602, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  17. Benito Arruñada, 2003. "Specialization and rent-seeking in moral enforcement: The case of confession," Economics Working Papers 653, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2009.

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