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Competition in the Regulated Religious Market
[Конкуренция На Регулируемом Рынке Религиозных Услуг]


  • Bukin, Kirill A. (Букин, Кирилл А.)

    (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Levin, Mark I. (Левин, Марк И.)

    (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration)


The religious market is considered as partially regulated, which means that the state does not prevent the emergence of sects as well as does not persecute non-religious people, and they exist along with the official denominations. A modification of the Hotelling’s spatial model is used in the paper under the simplifying assumption that the entry costs in the religious market are negligible. In contrast to the existing models, where agents seek the closest denominations in terms of strictness, the capacity of the existing churches is also taken into account. This capacity directly affects religious capital acquisition. It was shown by Michael McBride that in an unregulated market there is a natural bound for the number of churches. The authors show that such a bound does not exist in the modified model — moreover, sects and non-religious communities will arise. If the society moderately values the religious capital, then the denominations that arise will be significantly diverse. At the same time the entry costs may hinder the birth of some denominations. Although the majority of results are proven under the condition of a uniform density of preferred strictness among the agents, it is shown that when the monopoly denomination lowers its strictness under the shift in religious preferences, the number of non-religious agents will increase nonetheless, compared with the status quo.

Suggested Citation

  • Bukin, Kirill A. (Букин, Кирилл А.) & Levin, Mark I. (Левин, Марк И.), 2018. "Competition in the Regulated Religious Market
    [Конкуренция На Регулируемом Рынке Религиозных Услуг]
    ," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 218-233, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:rnp:ecopol:ep1808

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gilat Levy & Ronny Razin, 2012. "Religious Beliefs, Religious Participation, and Cooperation," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 121-151, August.
    2. McBride, Michael, 2015. "Why churches need free-riders: Religious capital formation and religious group survival," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 77-87.
    3. Sriya Iyer, 2016. "The New Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(2), pages 395-441, June.
    4. MICHAEL McBRIDE, 2010. "Religious Market Competition in a Richer World," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 148-171, January.
    5. Shy, Oz, 2007. "Dynamic models of religious conformity and conversion: Theory and calibrations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1127-1153, July.
    6. 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.
    7. Sriya Iyer & Chander Velu & Melvyn Weeks, 2014. "Divine Competition: Religious Organisations and Service Provision in India," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1409, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    8. Pedro Pita Barros & Nuno Garoupa, 2002. "An Economic Theory Of Church Strictness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(481), pages 559-576, July.
    9. 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.
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    More about this item


    religious market; denomination strictness; non-religious community; an equilibrium individual.;

    JEL classification:

    • C02 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Mathematical Economics
    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques


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