IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/poleco/v24y2008i1p73-87.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The triumph of Christianity in the Roman empire: An economic interpretation

Author

Listed:
  • Ferrero, Mario

Abstract

This paper offers an economic interpretation of Christianity's transformation from sect to universal religion in the Roman empire. It first points out paganism's apparent inability to provide individual security in times of distress, such as the third century C.E., as a reason for the increasing demand for monotheism. It then reviews Christianity's monotheistic competitors and points out the reasons why they lost out. Next, it addresses the Christian church's choice between exclusive membership and open access to all applicants on the day of its triumph and shows, by means of a cooperative model, that open access and universal membership were a superior policy if coupled with doctrinal radicalization. Finally, it analyzes the theological controversies of the fourth and fifth centuries by means of a Hotelling-type linear spatial model of doctrinal strictness ranging from paganism to Judaism, and traces the theological choices that were made back to the church's need to distance itself from its potential competitors.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:24:y:2008:i:1:p:73-87
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0176-2680(07)00059-6
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mario Ferrero, 2005. "Radicalization as a reaction to failure: An economic model of Islamic extremism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 199-220, January.
    2. Robert B. Ekelund, Jr. & Robert F. Hebert & Robert D. Tollison, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of the Protestant Reformation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 646-671, June.
    3. Mario Ferrero, 2013. "A theory of conversion to exclusive religious and political faiths," Chapters,in: Constitutional Economics and Public Institutions, chapter 19, pages 345-360 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. 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 271-291, April.
    5. Pedro Pita Barros & Nuno Garoupa, 2002. "An Economic Theory Of Church Strictness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(481), pages 559-576, July.
    6. 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.
    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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:copoec:v:29:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10602-017-9247-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Mario Ferrero, 2014. "Competition between Judaism and Christianity: Paul's Galatians as Entry Deterrence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(2), pages 204-226, May.
    3. Mario Ferrero, 2013. "A theory of conversion to exclusive religious and political faiths," Chapters,in: Constitutional Economics and Public Institutions, chapter 19, pages 345-360 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Ferrero, Mario, 2013. "Extermination as a substitute for assimilation or deportation: an economic approach," POLIS Working Papers 174, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    5. Constantine Bourlakis, 2016. "The Emperor?s New Mind: On Constantine?s I Decision to Legalize Christianity," International Journal of Social Sciences, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences, vol. 5(1), pages 47-59, February.
    6. Francisco Cabrillo & Miguel A. Puchades-Navarro (ed.), 2013. "Constitutional Economics and Public Institutions," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14863, April.
    7. Vikas Kumar, 2013. "A Bayesian model of religious conversion," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 1163-1171, February.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:24:y:2008:i:1:p:73-87. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.