Religion, Welfare Politics, and Church-State Separation

Journal of Ecumenical Studies; 42(1), 42-52, 2007

17 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2017

See all articles by Daniel L. Chen

Daniel L. Chen

Directeur de Recherche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Toulouse School of Economics, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, University of Toulouse Capitole, Toulouse, France

Jo Thori Lind

University of Oslo - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

How moral and religious beliefs interact with market forces is a subject of much debate. Can economic incentives explain why people believe what they believe? Some of our other work has looked at the impact of economic forces on religious intensity and at how incentives influence the impact of certain moral beliefs on gender-based violence. This essay uses market forces to explain why fiscal and social conservatism and fiscal and social liberalism come hand-in- hand. Religious intensity as social insurance provides a simple explanation. The religious right may be against welfare because it competes against their constituency.

We use this hypothesis to help solve three puzzles:

(1) Why fiscal and social conservatism align together in most countries is puzzling, since the fiscal libertarianism espoused by the Republican Party would seem to be an equally good fit with a libertarian position on issues of personal choice, such as abortion.

(2) Why fiscal and social conservatism did not align together in the past, such as the Social Gospel movement, or in some European countries today, presents another puzzle. Separation between church and state is key. The welfare state is not competitive against religious groups when part of the government budget can be distributed for religious groups.

(3) Why some countries separated church and state and sustain high church-state separation, high religiosity, and a low welfare state, while other countries did not separate church and state and sustain low church-state separation, low religiosity, and a high welfare state presents the final puzzle.

Keywords: religion, welfare, politics, church-state separation

Suggested Citation

Chen, Daniel L. and Lind, Jo Thori, Religion, Welfare Politics, and Church-State Separation (2007). Journal of Ecumenical Studies; 42(1), 42-52, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2975839

Daniel L. Chen (Contact Author)

Directeur de Recherche, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Toulouse School of Economics, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, University of Toulouse Capitole, Toulouse, France ( email )

21 allée de Brienne
31015 Toulouse cedex 6 France
Toulouse, 31015
France

Jo Thori Lind

University of Oslo - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1095 Blindern
N-0317 Oslo
Norway

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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