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Competition and Civic Engagement in the Religious Marketplace


  • Lynne Pepall
  • Daniel Richards
  • John Straub
  • Michael DeBartolo


We develop a model of spatial competition to explain the high level of spending on social services that distinguishes American churches or faith-based organizations (FBOs). The model predicts that such spending, measured on a per member basis, rises as the equilibrium structure of the religious marketplace becomes more competitive. A simple test of the model using measures of a religious Herfindahl Index constructed by county and by year for panel data covering the years 1994 and 2000 confirms our analysis. As local FBO monopoly power grows, FBO spending on civic activities declines.

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  • Lynne Pepall & Daniel Richards & John Straub & Michael DeBartolo, 2006. "Competition and Civic Engagement in the Religious Marketplace," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0603, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  • Handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:0603

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert J. Barro & Rachel M. McCleary, 2005. "Which Countries Have State Religions?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1331-1370.
    2. Lynne M. Pepall, 2002. "The Simple Economics of Brand Stretching," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(3), pages 535-552, July.
    3. Gruber Jonathan H, 2005. "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-32, September.
    4. Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "An Economic Approach to Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 437-458, November.
    5. Gruber, Jonathan & Hungerman, Daniel M., 2007. "Faith-based charity and crowd-out during the great depression," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1043-1069, June.
    6. Steven C. Salop, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition with Outside Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 141-156, Spring.
    7. Dehejia, Rajeev & DeLeire, Thomas & Luttmer, Erzo F.P., 2007. "Insuring consumption and happiness through religious organizations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 259-279, February.
    8. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
    9. Hungerman, Daniel M., 2005. "Are church and state substitutes? Evidence from the 1996 welfare reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2245-2267, December.
    10. James Andreoni & A. Abigail Payne, 2003. "Do Government Grants to Private Charities Crowd Out Giving or Fund-raising?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 792-812, June.
    11. Jonathan Gruber, 2005. "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?," NBER Working Papers 11377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2006. "Value-Added Tax," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0608, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    2. Robert Mochrie & John Sawkins & Alexander Naumov, 2008. "Competition and Participation in Religious Markets: Evidence from Victorian Scotland," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 66(4), pages 437-467.

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