Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Exporting Christianity: Governance and Doctrine in the Globalization of Us Denominations

63 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2011  

Gordon H. Hanson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Chong Xiang

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management

Date Written: April 2011

Abstract

In this paper we build a model of market competition among religious denominations, using a framework that involves incomplete contracts and the production of club goods. We treat denominations akin to multinational enterprises, which decide which countries to enter based on local market conditions and their own "productivity." The model yields predictions for how a denomination's religious doctrine and governance structure affect its ability to attract adherents. We test these predictions using data on the foreign operations of US Protestant denominations in 2005 from the World Christian Database. Consistent with the model, we find that (1) denominations with stricter religious doctrine attract more adherents in countries in which the risk of natural disaster or disease outbreak is greater and in which government provision of health services is weaker, and (2) denominations with a decentralized governance structure attract more adherents in countries in which the productivity of pastor effort is higher. These findings shed light on factors determining the composition of religion within countries, helping account for the rise of new Protestant denominations in recent decades.

Suggested Citation

Hanson, Gordon H. and Xiang, Chong, Exporting Christianity: Governance and Doctrine in the Globalization of Us Denominations (April 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w16964. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1820076

Gordon H. Hanson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Chong Xiang

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management ( email )

1310 Krannert Building
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
14
Abstract Views
286