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The Institutional Foundations of Religious Politics: Evidence from Indonesia

Author

Listed:
  • Samuel Bazzi

    (BU - Boston University [Boston])

  • Gabriel Koehler-Derrick

    (Harvard University [Cambridge])

  • Benjamin Marx

    (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

Why do religious politics thrive in some societies but not others? This paper explores the institutional foundations of this process in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim democracy. We show that a major Islamic institution, the waqf, fostered the entrenchment of political Islam at a critical historical juncture. In the early 1960s, rural elites transferred large amounts of land into waqf —a type of inalienable charitable trust—to avoid expropriation by the government as part of a major land reform effort. Although the land reform was later undone, the waqf properties remained. We show that greater intensity of the planned reform led to more prevalent waqf land and Islamic institutions endowed as such, including religious schools, which are strongholds of the Islamist movement. We identify lasting effects of the reform on electoral support for Islamist parties, preferences for religious candidates, and the adoption of Islamic legal regulations (sharia). Overall, the land reform contributed to the resilience and eventual rise of political Islam by helping to spread religious institutions, thereby solidifying the alliance between local elites and Islamist groups. These findings shed new light on how religious institutions may shape politics in modern democracies.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel Bazzi & Gabriel Koehler-Derrick & Benjamin Marx, 2020. "The Institutional Foundations of Religious Politics: Evidence from Indonesia," Post-Print hal-03391857, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-03391857
    DOI: 10.1093/qje/qjz038
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-sciencespo.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03391857
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    3. Oeindrila Dube & Joshua E. Blumenstock & Michael Callen & Michael J. Callen, 2022. "Measuring Religion from Behavior: Climate Shocks and Religious Adherence in Afghanistan," CESifo Working Paper Series 10114, CESifo.
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    5. Emeline Bezin & Bastien Chabé-Ferret & David de la Croix, 2018. "Strategic Fertility, Education Choices and Conflicts in Deeply Divided Societies," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2018011, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    6. Samuel Bazzi & Masyhur Hilmy & Benjamin Marx, 2020. "Religion, Education, and Development," Working Papers hal-03873758, HAL.
    7. Belmonte, A & Pickard, H, 2022. "Safe at Last? LATE Effects of a Mass Immunization Campaign on Households’ Economic Insecurity," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 604, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    8. Samuel Bazzi & Gabriel Koehler-Derrick & Benjamin Marx, 2020. "The Institutional Foundations of Religious Politics: Evidence from Indonesia [“The Classical Islamic Law of Waqf: A Concise Introduction”]," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(2), pages 845-911.
    9. Raphael Corbi & Fabio Miessi Sanches, 2022. "Church Competition, Religious Subsidies and the Rise of Evangelicalism: a Dynamic Structural Analysis," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2022_09, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    10. Samuel Bazzi & Masyhur Hilmy & Benjamin Marx, 2020. "Islam and the State: Religious Education in the Age of Mass Schooling," Working Papers hal-03389196, HAL.
    11. Attila Gaspar & Tommaso Giommoni & Massimo Morelli & Antonio Nicolò, 2021. "Corruption and Extremism," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 21163, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    12. Samuel Bazzi & Gabriel Koehler-Derrick & Benjamin Marx, 2020. "The Institutional Foundations of Religious Politics: Evidence from Indonesia [“The Classical Islamic Law of Waqf: A Concise Introduction”]," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(2), pages 845-911.
    13. Caprettini, Bruno & Casaburi, Lorenzo & Venturini, Miriam, 2021. "Redistribution, Voting and Clientelism: Evidence from the Italian Land Reform," CEPR Discussion Papers 15679, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Alberto Alesina & Marlon Seror & David Y. Yang & Yang You & Weihong Zeng, 2020. "Persistence through Revolutions," Working Papers DT/2020/09, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    15. Samuel Bazzi & Masyhur Hilmy & Benjamin Marx, 2020. "Islam and the State: Religious Education in the Age of Mass Schooling∗," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-349, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    16. Sultan Mehmood & Avner Seror, 2021. "Religious Leaders and Rule Of Law," Working Papers w0280, New Economic School (NES).
    17. Liang, Pinghan & Xiao, Shukang, 2022. "Pray, vote, and money: The double-edged sword effect of religions on rural political participation in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    18. Giommoni, Tommaso & Morelli, Massimo & Nicolò, Antonio, 2020. "Corruption and Extremism," CEPR Discussion Papers 14634, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
      • Attila Gaspar & Tommaso Giommoni & Massimo Morelli & Antonio Nicolò, 2021. "Corruption and Extremism," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 21163, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religion; Institutions; Land reform; Islam; Sharia Law;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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