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State and Religion Over Time

Listed author(s):
  • Metin M. Cosgel

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Matthew Histen

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Sadullah Yıldırım

    (University of Connecticut)

State and religion, two of the oldest institutions known to mankind, have historically had a close relationship with each other, but the disestablishment of state religions has been one of the most drastic institutional transformations that has taken place in the modern era. We offer a systematic analysis of the development of secular states based on a political economy approach that is centered on the notion of legitimacy. Viewing religion as a legitimizing force for political leaders, we consider the factors affecting the cost and benefits of alternative sources of legitimacy, such as the differential abilities of religious and secular sources to legitimize political rulers and historical inertia that shaped the cost of monitoring legitimizing agents. To examine this argument empirically, we built a cross-national time-series dataset for the relationship between state and religion since the year 1000. We first use the data to examine the evolution of secularism over time and its variation across religious traditions. We then use regression analysis and an instrumental variables approach to identify the influences on the adoption of secular state, such as concentration in the religion market, religious differences between rulers and the general population, historical inertia of a state, and the prevailing political regime. We address endogeneity concerns regarding the relationship between religious concentration and state secularism by exploiting variation among territories in their geographic distance to religious “capitals” of the world as an instrument.

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File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2015-07R2.pdf
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File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2015-07.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2015-07.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2015
Date of revision: Oct 2016
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2015-07
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University of Connecticut 365 Fairfield Way, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063

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Fax: (860) 486-4463
Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/

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  1. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2012. "How Deep are the Roots of Economic Development?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3837, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2005. "Which Countries Have State Religions?," Scholarly Articles 3710663, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Iannaccone, Laurence R & Finke, Roger & Stark, Rodney, 1997. "Deregulating Religion: The Economics of Church and State," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 350-364, April.
  4. Cosgel, Metin & Miceli, Thomas J., 2009. "State and religion," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 402-416, September.
  5. Louis Putterman & David N. Weil, 2008. "Post-1500 Population Flows and the Long Run Determinants of Economic Growth and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 14448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Diego A. Comin & William Easterly & Erick Gong, 2008. "Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.?," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-052, Harvard Business School.
  7. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
  8. Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli & Jared Rubin, 2009. "Guns and Books: Legitimacy, Revolt and Technological Change in the Ottoman Empire," Working papers 2009-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  9. Anderson, Gary M, 1988. "Mr. Smith and the Preachers: The Economics of Religion in the Wealth of Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 1066-1088, October.
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