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Church-state separation and redistribution

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  • Huber, John D.
  • Stanig, Piero

Abstract

We analyze how religion affects voting and redistribution. Our model directs attention away from the particular faith, belief or risk attitudes of religious individuals, and emphasizes instead how organized religion opens the door to standard group-based distributive politics. We argue that organized religion makes it possible for the rich and the religious poor to form electoral coalitions in favor of low taxes and limited redistribution. The losers are the secular poor. However, the material reward to the religious poor from supporting such electoral coalitions depends on the institutional context. As state financial support for religion increases, the ideological preferences of the religious poor become aligned with those of the secular poor in favor of parties that support high taxes. The analysis therefore shows that the redistributive preferences of religious individuals should vary with the institutional context, and that we can understand these preferences without assuming that religious individuals have specific core traits that differ from those of secular individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Huber, John D. & Stanig, Piero, 2011. "Church-state separation and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 828-836.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:7:p:828-836
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2011.02.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Estache & Maleke Fourati, 2017. "Infrastructure Provision, Politics and Religion: Insights from Tunisia's New Democracy," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2017-24, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Pavithra Suryanarayan, 2017. "When do the poor vote for the right-wing and why: Status inequality and vote choice in the Indian states," WIDER Working Paper Series 020, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Gimpelson, Vladimir & Treisman, Daniel, 2015. "Misperceiving Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 9100, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Augenblick, Ned & Cunha, Jesse M. & Dal Bó, Ernesto & Rao, Justin M., 2016. "The economics of faith: using an apocalyptic prophecy to elicit religious beliefs in the field," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 38-49.
    5. Grigoriadis, Theocharis, 2013. "A political theory of Russian orthodoxy: Evidence from public goods experiments," Discussion Papers 2013/14, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    6. Dills, Angela K. & Hernández-Julián, Rey, 2014. "Religiosity and state welfare," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 37-51.
    7. Chaudhary, Latika & Rubin, Jared, 2016. "Religious identity and the provision of public goods: Evidence from the Indian Princely States," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 461-483.
    8. Bénabou, Roland & Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2015. "Forbidden Fruits: The Political Economy of Science, Religion, and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 10548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. David Rueda, 2014. "Food Comes First, Then Morals: Redistribution Preferences, Altruism and Group Heterogeneity in Western Europe," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 200, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    10. Pourya Darnihamedani & Joern Hendrich Block & Jolanda Hessels & Aram Simonyan, 2015. "Start-up Costs, Taxes and Innovative Entrepreneurship," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-013/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. Christoph Basten & Frank Betz, 2012. "Beyond Work Ethic," KOF Working papers 12-309, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.

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