An economic theory of church strictness

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Abstract

This paper introduces spatial-location models into the economics of religion. We offer a new explanation for the observed tendency of state (monopoly) churches to locate toward the 'low-tension' end of the 'strictness continuum'; 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 derive implications regarding the relationship between religious strictness and membership. Religious market interactions and asymmetric costs of membership, highlight new explanations for some well-established stylised facts, opening the way to new empirical comparisons with more traditional explanations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-576
Number of pages18
JournalThe Economic Journal
Volume112
Issue number481
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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Keywords

  • MEDIEVAL CHURCH
  • RELIGION
  • MODEL

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