DEREGULATING RELIGION: THE ECONOMICS OF CHURCH AND STATE

Authors

  • LAURENCE R. IANNACCONE,

    1. Department of Economics, Sank Clara University, Calif., Phone 1–408-554-4341 Fax 1–408-554-233 1 E-mail liannaccone@mailer.scu.edu
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  • ROGER FINKE,

    1. Department of Sociology Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. Phone 1–317-494-4715, Fax 1–317-496-1476 E-mail finke@sri.soc.purdue.edu
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  • RODNEY STARK

    1. Department of Sociology, Washington University, Seattle
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    • *Early drafts of this paper were presented at the Western Economic Association, July 1992, San Francisco, Calif., and the Allied Social Sciences Association, January 1993, Anaheim, Calif. The authors appreciate the helpful comments of Timur Kuran, Eva Hamberg, Thorleif Pettersson, two anonymous referees, workshop participants, and many colleagues.


Abstract

Traditional religious research fails to recognize religion as a market phenomenon. It especially overlooks supply-side factors that shape the incentives and opportunities of religious firms, emphasizing instead demand-side shifts in the perceptions, tastes, and needs of consumers. This paper reviews the effects of government actions that alter religious supply. Our examples demonstrate that simple deregulation lies at the root of major religious trends and that the vitality of a religious market depends critically upon its competitiveness.

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