Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Religious Extremism: The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly

36 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2005  

Eli Berman

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Laurence R. Iannaccone

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2005

Abstract

This paper challenges conventional views of violent religious extremism, particularly those that emphasize militant theology. We offer an alternative analysis that helps explain the persistent demand for religion, the different types of religious that naturally arise, and the special attributes of the %u201Csectarian%u201D type. Sects are adept at producing club goods both spiritual and material. Where governments and economies function poorly, sects often become major suppliers of social services, political action, and coercive force. Their success as providers is much more due to the advantages of their organizational structure than it is to their theology. Religious militancy is most effectively controlled through a combination of policies that raise the direct costs of violence, foster religious competition, improve social services, and encourage private enterprise.

Suggested Citation

Berman, Eli and Iannaccone, Laurence R., Religious Extremism: The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly (October 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11663. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=819824

Eli Berman (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States
858-534-2858 (Phone)
858-534-7040 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Laurence R. Iannaccone

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
52
Rank
325,119
Abstract Views
1,617