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A model of secularism in the state of nature


  • Vikas Kumar



The issue of secularization has been extensively discussed within the Economics of Religion. However, the related issue of secularism has received little, if any, attention. Moreover, social sciences have only debated secularism in the context of state. This paper disaggregates religion and secularism into a number of analytically tractable strands and explores the possibility of secularism in the state of nature from different perspectives. The incidence of secularism in the state of nature is shown to be contingent on the level of aggregation, the reference groups and the dimensions of religion under consideration, and the cost of religious contest. It is also shown that the belief regarding the externalities of individual religious practice is the key determinant of the incidence of secularism, while the degree of exclusivity of religion moderates/accentuates the effect of the aforesaid belief. Finally, it is argued that a class of stateless settings is inherently conducive to constitutionally secular states. But it is also shown that unconditionally secular individuals are not necessary for a secular society and, by implication, state. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Vikas Kumar, 2013. "A model of secularism in the state of nature," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 1199-1212, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:qualqt:v:47:y:2013:i:2:p:1199-1212
    DOI: 10.1007/s11135-012-9690-7

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vikas Kumar, 2008. "A Critical review of economic analyses of religion," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2008-023, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    2. Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2010. "The invisible hand plays dice: multiple equilibria in sects markets," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 483-502, December.
    3. Richardson, Gary & McBride, Michael, 2009. "Religion, longevity, and cooperation: The case of the craft guild," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 172-186, August.
    4. James Heckman, 2010. "The Effect Of Prayer On God'S Attitude Toward Mankind," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 234-235, January.
    5. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Posner, Richard A, 1987. "The Law and Economics Movement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 1-13, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vikas Kumar, 2014. "A model of state secularism," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 2313-2327, July.


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