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Which Countries Have State Religions?

  • McCleary, Rachel
  • Barro, Robert

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.

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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 3710663.

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Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Quarterly Journal of Economics
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:3710663
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  1. Kornai, Janos, 1992. "The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287766.
  2. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin & Ricard Gil, 2003. "Do Democracies Have Different Public Policies than Nondemocracies?," NBER Working Papers 10040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Law and Finance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1768, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    • Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Law and Finance," NBER Working Papers 5661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Law and Finance," Working Paper 19451, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    • La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. repec:reg:rpubli:274 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S158-S183, December.
  6. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  7. Casey B. Mulligan & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Population and Regulation," NBER Working Papers 10234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Casey B. Mulligan & Ricard Gil & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2004. "Do democracies have different public policies than non-democracies?," Discussion Papers 0304-14, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  9. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth across Countries," Scholarly Articles 3708464, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. Robert Barro & Rachel M. McCleary, 2003. "International Determinants of Religiosity," NBER Working Papers 10147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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