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Religious Co-option in Autocracy: A Theory Inspired by History

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  • Auriol, Emmanuelle
  • Platteau, Jean-Philippe

Abstract

The relationship between religion and politics is explored from a theoretical standpoint, assuming that religious clerics can be coopted by the ruler acting as an autocrat. The comparative effects of decentralized versus centralized religions on the optimal level of cooperation between the autocrat and the religious clerics, which itself impinges upon political stability, is analysed. The paper shows that the presence of a decentralized body of clerics makes autocratic regimes more unstable. It also shows that in time of stability, the level of reforms is larger with a centralized religion than with a decentralized one. When the autocrat in the decentralized case pushes more reforms than in the centralized one, he always does so at the cost of stability. Historical case studies are presented that serve to illustrate the main results.

Suggested Citation

  • Auriol, Emmanuelle & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2016. "Religious Co-option in Autocracy: A Theory Inspired by History," TSE Working Papers 16-746, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:31297
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2017. "The Explosive Combination of Religious Decentralisation and Autocracy: the Case of Islam," TSE Working Papers 17-759, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    2. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:4:p:1194-1214 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:bla:etrans:v:25:y:2017:i:2:p:313-350 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:bla:etrans:v:25:y:2017:i:2:p:141-148 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:deveco:v:134:y:2018:i:c:p:416-427 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Autocracy; instrumentalization of religion; centralized and decentralized religion; Islam; economic development; reforms;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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