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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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  1. 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.
  2. Nilssen, Tore, 1997. "Sequential location when transportation costs are asymmetric," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 191-201, February.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, vol. 5(2), pages 307-31, Fall.
  5. 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.
  6. Alberto Cassone & Carla Marchese, 1999. "The Economics of Religious Indulgences," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 155(3), pages 429-, September.
  7. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  8. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1995. "Risk, Rationality, and Religious Portfolios," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(2), pages 285-95, April.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Brooks Hull & Frederick Bold, 1998. "Product Variety in Religious Markets," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(1), pages 1-19.
  12. Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1977. "Household Allocation of Time and Religiosity: Replication and Extension," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(2), pages 415-23, April.
  13. 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, number 9780195103373, October.
  14. 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.
  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, vol. 153(1), pages 122-, March.
  16. Sullivan, Dennis H, 1985. "Simultaneous Determination of Church Contributions and Church Attendance," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 23(2), pages 309-20, April.
  17. Lipford, Jody & McCormick, Robert E. & Tollison, Robert D., 1993. "Preaching matters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 235-250, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mark Koyama & Jean-Paul Carvalho, . "Development and Religious Polarization: The Emergence of Reform and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism," Discussion Papers 11/11, Department of Economics, University of York.
  2. Esa Mangeloja, 2003. "Application of Economic Concepts on Religious Behavior," Others 0310003, EconWPA.
  3. Shy, Oz, 2007. "Dynamic models of religious conformity and conversion: Theory and calibrations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1127-1153, July.
  4. 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.
  5. Oslington, Paul, 2005. "Deus Economicus," MPRA Paper 962, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Makowsky, Michael, 2009. "Religious Extremism, Clubs, and Civil Liberties: A Model of Religious Populations," MPRA Paper 14358, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Benito Arrunada, . "Catholic Confessions of Sin as Third Party Moral Enforcement," Gruter Institute Working Papers on Law, Economics, and Evolutionary Biology 3-1-1013, Berkeley Electronic Press.
  8. C. Reggiani & G. Rossini, 2008. "Religious Attitudes and Home Bias," Working Papers 632, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  9. Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2013. "Equilibria in unidirectional spatial models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 146-149.
  10. Ayman Reda, 2012. "Religious Charities and Government Funding," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 331-342, August.
  11. Michael McBride, 2005. "Why Hasn’t Economic Growth Killed Religion?," Working Papers 050602, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  12. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:26:y:2004:i:1:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2004. "The Invisible Hand Plays Dice: Eventualities in Religious Markets," Others 0406005, EconWPA.
  14. Paul Frijters & Juan D. Barón, 2012. "The Cult of Theoi: Economic Uncertainty and Religion," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(s1), pages 116-136, 06.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.

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