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Which Countries Have State Religions?

  • Robert J. Barro

    (Harvard University)

  • Rachel M. Mccleary

    (Harvard University)

Among 188 countries, 72 had no state religion in 2000, 1970, and 1900; 58 had a state religion throughout; and 58 had 1 or 2 transitions. We use a Hotelling spatial competition model to analyze the likelihood that the religion market would be monopolized. Similar forces influence a government's decision to establish a state religion. Consistent with the model, the probability of state religion in 1970 and 2000 is increasing with the adherence rate to the main religion, has a nonlinear relation with population, and has little relation with per capita GDP. The probability of state religion decreases sharply under Communism, but lagged Communism has only a weak effect. With costly adjustment for institutions, the probability of state religion in 1970 or 2000 depends substantially on the status in 1900. This persistence is much stronger for countries with no major regime change than for countries with such a change. Copyright (c) 2005 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 120 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1331-1370

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:4:p:1331-1370
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  1. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Law and Finance," Working Paper 19451, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  2. repec:reg:rpubli:274 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Casey B. Mulligan & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Population and Regulation," NBER Working Papers 10234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Barro, Robert J., 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Scholarly Articles 3451297, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Robert Barro & Rachel M. McCleary, 2003. "International Determinants of Religiosity," NBER Working Papers 10147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Casey B. Mulligan & Ricard Gil & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2004. "Do Democracies Have Different Public Policies than Nondemocracies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 51-74, Winter.
  8. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth across Countries," Scholarly Articles 3708464, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Olds, Kelly, 1994. "Privatizing the Church: Disestablishment in Connecticut and Massachusetts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 277-97, April.
  10. Kornai, Janos, 1992. "The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287766, March.
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