Why Do European Governments Favor Religion?
This paper explores a highly controversial issue: while most European countries are undergoing a clear and well-documented process of secularization, the governments of these countries widely support religious institutions. The arguments put forward by the median voter seem insufficient to explain the data. We show that if political parties are allowed to take an ideological position with respect to religion, the observed deviations from the most preferred policy by the median voter could be explained. The assumptions of our model are tested using European data. We observe that citizens are concerned about secularization, but that there are differences between religious and non-religious citizens as we assume. In addition, and in consonance with our assumptions, the percentage of religious-averse inhabitants is very small.
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- McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2005.
"Which Countries Have State Religions?,"
3710663, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Bruce Sacerdote & Edward L. Glaeser, 2001.
"Education and Religion,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1913, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
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