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Legal Centralization and the Birth of the Secular State

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  • Johnson, Noel D
  • Koyama, Mark

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between the historical process of legal centralization and increased religious toleration by the state. We develop a model in which legal centralization leads to the criminalization of the religious beliefs of a large proportion of the population. This process initially leads to increased persecution, but, because these persecutions are costly, it eventually causes the state to broaden the standards of orthodox belief and move toward religious toleration. We compare the results of the model with historical evidence drawn from two important cases in which religious diversity and state centralization collided in France: the Albigensian crusades of the thirteenth century and the rise of Protestant belief in the sixteenth century. Both instances sup- port our central claim that the secularization of western European state institutions during the early-modern period was driven by the costs of imposing a common set of legal standards on religiously diverse populations.

Suggested Citation

  • Johnson, Noel D & Koyama, Mark, 2012. "Legal Centralization and the Birth of the Secular State," MPRA Paper 40887, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:40887
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Why were the Cathars killed but the Huguenots not?
      by Chris Colvin in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-09-23 20:52:46
    2. Why were the Cathars killed but the Huguenots not?
      by Chris Colvin in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-09-23 20:52:46

    Citations

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    1. Chiu Yu Ko & Mark Koyama & Tuan†Hwee Sng, 2018. "Unified China And Divided Europe," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 59(1), pages 285-327, February.
    2. Chen, Shuo & Fan, Xinyu, 2021. "Warcraft: The legitimacy building of usurpers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 409-431.
    3. Johnson, Noel D. & Koyama, Mark, 2017. "States and economic growth: Capacity and constraints," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 1-20.
    4. Ko, Chiu Yu & Koyama, Mark & Sng, Tuan-Hwee, 2014. "Unified China; Divided Europe," MPRA Paper 60418, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Johnson, Noel, 2015. "Taxes, National Identity, and Nation Building: Evidence from France," MPRA Paper 63598, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Anderson, R. Warren & Johnson, Noel D & Koyama, Mark, 2013. "From the Persecuting to the Protective State? Jewish Expulsions and Weather Shocks from 1100 to 1800," MPRA Paper 44228, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Coşgel, Metin M. & Langlois, Richard N. & Miceli, Thomas J., 2020. "Identity, religion, and the state: The origin of theocracy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 608-622.
    8. Naghavi, Alireza & Pignataro, Giuseppe, 2015. "Theocracy and resilience against economic sanctions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 1-12.
    9. Coşgel, Metin & Histen, Matthew & Miceli, Thomas J. & Yıldırım, Sadullah, 2018. "State and religion over time," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 20-34.
    10. Øivind Schøyen, 0. "What limits the efficacy of coercion?," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 0, pages 1-52.
    11. Masera, Federico, 2021. "State, religiosity and church participation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 186(C), pages 269-287.
    12. Nick Cowen, 2018. "Robust Against Whom?," Advances in Austrian Economics, in: Steven Horwitz (ed.), Austrian Economics: The Next Generation, volume 23, pages 91-111, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    13. Koyama, Mark & Xue, Melanie Meng, 2015. "The Literary Inquisition: The Persecution of Intellectuals and Human Capital Accumulation in China," MPRA Paper 62103, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Øivind Schøyen, 2021. "What limits the efficacy of coercion?," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 15(2), pages 267-318, May.
    15. Koyama, Mark, 2022. "Introduction to the special issue on culture, institutions, and religion in economic history," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 201(C), pages 105-114.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    State Capacity; Religion; Secularization; Heresy; Legal Capacity; France;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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