IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Religious Market Theory vs. Secularization: The Role of Religious Diversity Revisited


  • Opfinger, Matthias


Iannaccone's (1991) seminal paper assigns basic market principles to the market for religion. In a competitive market with high religious diversity the level of overall religiosity should increase. The Secularization Hypothesis suggests that the establishment of new churches casts doubt on the existing religion, which results in a reduction of religiosity. The present paper reinvestigates this relationship using a broader measure of religiosity than church attendance and calculating a more accurate index of religious diversity. This approach overcomes weaknesses of previous studies and generates more reliable results. These support the Secularization Hypothesis. Moreover, ethnic diversity has a strong positive impact on religiosity. Religiosity and national identity appear to be substitutes.

Suggested Citation

  • Opfinger, Matthias, 2011. "Religious Market Theory vs. Secularization: The Role of Religious Diversity Revisited," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-475, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  • Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-475

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. José G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict, and Civil Wars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 796-816, June.
    2. Brander, James A & Taylor, M Scott, 1998. "The Simple Economics of Easter Island: A Ricardo-Malthus Model of Renewable Resource Use," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 119-138, March.
    3. Kraay, Aart & Raddatz, Claudio, 2007. "Poverty traps, aid, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 315-347, March.
    4. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
    5. Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio & Wacziarg, Romain, 2003. "Fractionalization," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 155-194, June.
    6. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 131-165, June.
    7. Elsa V. Artadi & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2003. "The Economic Tragedy of the XXth Century: Growth in Africa," NBER Working Papers 9865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ines Lindner & Holger Strulik, 2008. "Social Fractionalization, Endogenous Appropriation Norms, and Economic Development," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(298), pages 244-258, May.
    9. Guvenen, Fatih, 2006. "Reconciling conflicting evidence on the elasticity of intertemporal substitution: A macroeconomic perspective," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1451-1472, October.
    10. Ines Lindner & Holger Strulik, 2004. "Why not Africa? -- Growth and Welfare Effects of Secure Property Rights," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 120(1_2), pages 143-167, July.
    11. Strulik, Holger, 2012. "Patience and prosperity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(1), pages 336-352.
    12. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-851, July.
    13. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    14. Rodrik, Dani, 1999. "Where Did All the Growth Go? External Shocks, Social Conflict, and Growth Collapses," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 385-412, December.
    15. David E. Bloom & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "Geography, Demography, and Economic Growth in Africa," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 207-296.
    16. Holger Strulik, 2008. "Social composition, social conflict and economic development," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 1145-1170, July.
    17. Steger, Thomas M., 2000. "Economic growth with subsistence consumption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 343-361, August.
    18. Keefer, Philip & Knack, Stephen, 2002. "Polarization, Politics and Property Rights: Links between Inequality and Growth," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 111(1-2), pages 127-154, March.
    19. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 3-39, January.
    20. Ngo Long & Gerhard Sorger, 2006. "Insecure property rights and growth: the role of appropriation costs, wealth effects, and heterogeneity," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 28(3), pages 513-529, August.
    21. Bates, Robert H. & Coatsworth, John H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2007. "Lost Decades: Postindependence Performance in Latin America and Africa," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(04), pages 917-943, December.
    22. Attanasio, Orazio P & Browning, Martin, 1995. "Consumption over the Life Cycle and over the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1118-1137, December.
    23. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-357, April.
    25. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
    26. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
    27. Strulik, Holger, 2010. "A Note On Economic Growth With Subsistence Consumption," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(05), pages 763-771, November.
    28. Masao Ogaki & Jonathan D. Ostry & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1996. "Saving Behavior in Low- and Middle-Income Developing Countries: A Comparison," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 43(1), pages 38-71, March.
    29. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    30. Lane, Philip R & Tornell, Aaron, 1996. "Power, Growth, and the Voracity Effect," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 213-241, June.
    31. Mino, Kazuo, 2006. "Voracity vs. scale effect in a growing economy without secure property rights," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 278-284, November.
    32. Philip R. Lane & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Voracity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 22-46, March.
    33. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Martin Paldam & Erich Gundlach, 2013. "The religious transition. A long-run perspective," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 105-123, July.
    2. Opfinger, Matthias & Gundlach, Erich, 2011. "Religiosity as a determinant of happiness," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 48360, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    3. Kenneth Harttgen & Matthias Opfinger, 2014. "National Identity and Religious Diversity," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 346-367, August.

    More about this item


    Religious Market Theory; Secularization Hypothesis; Religious Diversity; Religiosity; National Identity;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-475. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Heidrich, Christian). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.