Acknowledgments: The authors would like to acknowledge the valuable comments of several anonymous reviewers, the help of Hyojoung Kim in measuring data, and Edgar Kiser for encouraging an early draft of this article. The authors benefited from the support of the University of Washington Sociology Department, which provided Corcoran with research support, and the Quality of Government Institute in Gothenburg, Sweden, for hosting Pfaff as a visiting scholar, an experience that much enriched the article. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2011 annual meeting for the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Piety, Power, and the Purse: Religious Economies Theory and Urban Reform in the Holy Roman Empire
Version of Record online: 4 DEC 2012
© 2012 The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Volume 51, Issue 4, pages 757–776, December 2012
How to Cite
Pfaff, S. and Corcoran, K. E. (2012), Piety, Power, and the Purse: Religious Economies Theory and Urban Reform in the Holy Roman Empire. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 51: 757–776. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-5906.2012.01680.x
- Issue online: 4 DEC 2012
- Version of Record online: 4 DEC 2012
- religious economy;
- political economy;
The religious economies model has been influential in the sociology of religion. Yet, propositions drawn from the model have been difficult to test in the comparative and historical study of religion, generally for lack of appropriate data. We develop a general theory of religious disestablishment and apply it to the Reformation in 16th-century Europe to explain variation in the abolition of the Catholic monopoly. We suggest three principal factors—changes in demand, entry control mechanisms, and political incentives—that explain why incumbent religious firms may lose their monopoly. We then analyze the resulting hypotheses in a systematic analysis of cities in the Holy Roman Empire. Our analysis yields mixed support for demand-side factors and entry control mechanisms, and firm support for political incentives in the institution of reform.