Church and State: An Economic Analysis

49 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2008  

Keith N. Hylton

Boston University - School of Law

Yulia Rodionova

University College London - School of Slavonic and East European Studies

Fei Deng

National Economic Research Associates (NERA)

Date Written: July 7, 2008

Abstract

What purpose is served by a government's protection of religious liberty? Many have been suggested, the most prominent of which center on the protection of freedom of belief and expression. However, since every regulation potentially interferes with religious freedom, it is useful to consider more concrete purposes that could suggest limits on the degree to which religious liberty should be protected. This paper focuses on the concrete economic consequences of state regulation of religion. We examine the effects of state regulation on corruption, economic growth, and inequality. The results suggest that laws and practices burdening religion enhance corruption. Laws burdening religion reduce economic growth and are positively associated with inequality.

Keywords: regulation of religion, economics of religion, corruption, inequality

JEL Classification: D3, D73, H41, K0, N4, Z12

Suggested Citation

Hylton, Keith N. and Rodionova, Yulia and Deng, Fei, Church and State: An Economic Analysis (July 7, 2008). Boston Univ. School of Law Working Paper No. 08-24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1156433 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1156433

Keith N. Hylton (Contact Author)

Boston University - School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-353-8959 (Phone)
617-353-3077 (Fax)

Ioulia (Yulia) Rodionova

University College London - School of Slavonic and East European Studies ( email )

Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU
United Kingdom

Fei Deng

National Economic Research Associates (NERA) ( email )

One Front Street, Suite 2600
San Francisco, CA 94111
United States

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