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An economic theory of church strictness

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  • Nuno Garoupa
  • Pedro Pita Barros

Abstract

This paper makes several contributions to the growing literature on the economics of religion. First, we explicitly introduce spatial- location models into the economics of religion. Second, we offer a new explanation for the observed tendency of state (monopoly) churches to locate toward the "low-tension" end of the "strictness continuum" (in a one-dimensional product space): This result is obtained through the conjunction of "benevolent preferences" (denominations care about the aggregate utility of members) and asymmetric costs of going to a more or less strict church than one prefers. We also derive implications regarding the relationship between religious strictness and membership. The driving forces of our analysis, religious market interactions and asymmetric costs of membership, high-light new explanations for some well-established stylized facts. The analysis opens the way to new empirical tests, aimed at confronting the implications of our model against more traditional explanations.

Suggested Citation

  • Nuno Garoupa & Pedro Pita Barros, 2001. "An economic theory of church strictness," Economics Working Papers 563, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:563
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Benito Arrunada, "undated". "Catholic Confessions of Sin as Third Party Moral Enforcement," Gruter Institute Working Papers on Law, Economics, and Evolutionary Biology 3-1-1013, Berkeley Electronic Press.
    2. Paul Frijters & Juan D. Barón, 2012. "The Cult of Theoi: Economic Uncertainty and Religion," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(s1), pages 116-136, June.
    3. Ferrero, Mario, 2008. "The triumph of Christianity in the Roman empire: An economic interpretation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 73-87, March.
    4. Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2004. "The Invisible Hand Plays Dice: Eventualities in Religious Markets," CESifo Working Paper Series 1238, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Carvalho, Jean-Paul & Koyama, Mark, 2016. "Jewish emancipation and schism: Economic development and religious change," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 562-584.
    6. repec:kap:iaecre:v:18:y:2012:i:3:p:331-342 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Oslington, Paul, 2005. "Deus Economicus," MPRA Paper 962, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2013. "Equilibria in unidirectional spatial models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 146-149.
    9. Mark Koyama & Jean-Paul Carvalho, "undated". "Development and Religious Polarization: The Emergence of Reform and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism," Discussion Papers 11/11, Department of Economics, University of York.
    10. C. Reggiani & G. Rossini, 2008. "Religious Attitudes and Home Bias," Working Papers 632, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    11. Benito Arruñada, 2003. "Specialization and rent-seeking in moral enforcement: The case of confession," Economics Working Papers 653, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2009.
    12. Makowsky, Michael, 2009. "Religious Extremism, Clubs, and Civil Liberties: A Model of Religious Populations," MPRA Paper 14358, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Shy, Oz, 2007. "Dynamic models of religious conformity and conversion: Theory and calibrations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1127-1153, July.
    14. Michael McBride, 2005. "Why Hasn’t Economic Growth Killed Religion?," Working Papers 050602, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    15. Ayman Reda, 2012. "Religious Charities and Government Funding," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 18(3), pages 331-342, August.
    16. Arano, Kathleen G. & Blair, Benjamin F., 2008. "Modeling religious behavior and economic outcome: Is the relationship bicausal?: Evidence from a survey of Mississippi households," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 2043-2053, October.
    17. Berg, Nathan & El-Komi, Mohamed & Kim, Jeong-Yoo, 2016. "Market segmentation and non-uniform Shariah standards in Islamic finance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(S), pages 39-49.
    18. Simon Fan, C., 2008. "Religious participation and children's education: A social capital approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 303-317, February.
    19. Esa Mangeloja, 2003. "Application of Economic Concepts on Religious Behavior," Others 0310003, EconWPA.
    20. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:26:y:2004:i:1:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Location theory; economics of religion;

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    • Z - Other Special Topics

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