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The Economics of the Counter-Reformation: Incumbent-Firm Reaction to Market Entry

  • Robert B. Ekelund
  • Robert F. Hebert
  • Robert D. Tollison

The Catholic Church reacted to the Protestant Reformation by taking on the defensive posture of an incumbent-firm monopoly fighting to survive in the face of new competition. Contemporary firms typically respond to rival entry by rewriting their corporate charter. So did the medieval Catholic Church. But the Council of Trent failed as a reorganization plan because to keep economic rents flowing as before, it left intact the distribution of powers and property rights among the governing body of pope and cardinals--thus demonstrating that entrenched economic interests are powerful inducements to behavior, even in spiritual institutions. (JEL N00, D2, D4, D72, P16) Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 42 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 690-705

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:42:y:2004:i:4:p:690-705
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