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Strategic Choice of Celibacy in the Catholic Church

  • Men-Andri Benz
  • Egon Franck
  • Urs Meister

    ()

    (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich
    Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich
    Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

Since the middle ages celibacy is a necessary commitment when considering becoming a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. In the ongoing discussions about reforms, a wide range of church members ask for the abolishment of celibacy in order to meet believers? changed social and moral standards and to increase the quality and the quantity of priests. However, this paper shows that from a rational point of view, there are good reasons for the Catholic Church to keep or even to increase the role of celibacy for its priests. Using celibacy as a resource selection device, it allows the church to signal credibly its religious orientation to believers. Based on a game theoretic model this paper analyses the optimal use of celibacy in the market for religious services. Additionally we discuss the relevant impacts of higher income levels, higher opportunity costs, increasing aging or changed moral standards related to homosexuality.

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File URL: http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/iso/ISU_WPS/42_ISU_full.pdf
File Function: First version, 2005
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Paper provided by University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU) in its series Working Papers with number 0042.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iso:wpaper:0042
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  1. Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
  2. Guido Heineck, 2001. "The Determinants of Church Attendance and Religious Human Capital in Germany: Evidence from Panel Data," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 263, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Klick, Jonathan, 2006. "Salvation as a selective incentive," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 15-32, March.
  4. Ekelund, Robert B. & Hebert, Robert F. & Tollison, Robert D. & Anderson, Gary M. & Davidson, Audrey B., 1997. "Sacred Trust: The Medieval Church as an Economic Firm," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195103373, March.
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