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State and Religion Over Time

Author

Listed:
  • Metin M. Cosgel

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Matthew Histen

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Sadullah Yıldırım

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Metin M. Cosgel & Matthew Histen & Thomas J. Miceli & Sadullah Yıldırım, 2015. "State and Religion Over Time," Working papers 2015-07, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2015-07
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2013. "How Deep Are the Roots of Economic Development?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 325-369, June.
    2. 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.
    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, 2010. "Post-1500 Population Flows and The Long-Run Determinants of Economic Growth and Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1627-1682.
    6. Diego Comin & William Easterly & Erick Gong, 2010. "Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 BC?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 65-97, July.
    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. Coşgel, Metin M. & Miceli, Thomas J. & Rubin, Jared, 2012. "The political economy of mass printing: Legitimacy and technological change in the Ottoman Empire," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 357-371.
    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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    state; religion; secular; legitimacy; institutions; religious concentration; political economy; regime; historical inertia;

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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