Competition and Participation in Religious Markets: Evidence from Victorian Scotland
In 1885, the largest churches in Scotland were engaged in a dispute about state funding. We use data generated in the course of that dispute to examine the standard economics of religion hypothesis that higher levels of competition in 1032 local markets for religious services, proxied by the number of denominations active in each, were associated with higher religious affiliation, proxied by measures of attendance and voluntary congregational giving. Adapting the complexity order approach of Montgomery (2003), we find evidence that is congruent with the hypothesis. However, we contend that the evidence is better explained by an alternative proposition that, given the particular institutional structure of markets and denominations at this time, market complexity does not decline with increasing market size
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