The Economics of Religion, Jewish Survival, and Jewish Attitudes toward Competition in Torah Education
This paper examines the attitude of Jewish law to competition in light of the economist's understanding of the benefits of competition and the beneficiaries from intervention in the competitive process. The punchline of this paper is simple. Although Judaism has used a whole host of restrictions on competition and has had its share of legislation to promote private interests, there has been one area that has generally been a consistent exception to impediments to competition--the teaching of Torah. This exception is all the more remarkable because those who were in a position to influence the legislation often stood to benefit from such restrictions. From this stress on teaching, we show that the foundation was laid for the survival and perpetuation of Judaism. Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.
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