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Was Adam Smith Right about Religious Competition?

Forum for Social Economics, Forthcoming

West Virginia University, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 15-47

GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 16-33

15 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2016 Last revised: 19 Aug 2016

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Joshua C. Hall

West Virginia University

Kathleen M. Sheehan

Texas Tech University - Free Market Institute; West Virginia University- Division of Economics and Finance

Date Written: December 1, 2015

Abstract

Adam Smith famously argued that increased competition in religion would result in more religious tolerance and that the benefits of competition in the marketplace would also be seen in religious instruction when many religious sects are tolerated. We use a cross-section of a maximum of 167 countries to explore whether increased religious competition results in less governmental regulation of religion and less governmental favoritism of religion. Our measure of religious regulation and favoritism comes from the Association of Religion Data Archives. Our empirical analysis also explores the influence of economic and political factors, including the size of the economy, openness of trade, legal origins, education, the amount of checks and balances on the government and the role of democracy.

Keywords: Religious Freedom; Regulation; Democracy

JEL Classification: Z12

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J. and Hall, Joshua C. and Sheehan, Kathleen M., Was Adam Smith Right about Religious Competition? (December 1, 2015). West Virginia University, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 15-47 ; GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 16-33. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2812855 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2812855

Peter J. Boettke (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1149 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

Joshua C. Hall

West Virginia University ( email )

Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

Kathleen M. Sheehan

Texas Tech University - Free Market Institute ( email )

2500 Broadway
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

West Virginia University- Division of Economics and Finance ( email )

P.O. Box 6025
Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

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