Development and Religious Polarization: The Emergence of Reform and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism
51 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2011
Date Written: October 15, 2011
Why do religious minorities respond in different ways to economic development? We develop a model of religious organizations based on a historical case study of Jewish emancipation in nineteenth century Europe. In Germany, a liberal Reform movement developed in response to emancipation, while ultra-Orthodox Judaism emerged in eastern Europe. Our explanation for this polarization contributes to an understanding of how economic development shapes the character of religion and sheds light on the conditions determining whether minority groups embrace or resist cultural integration. We show that rising levels of economic development can produce stricter forms of religiosity, religious polarization and cycles.
Keywords: club goods, religious polarization, community, Jewish emancipation
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