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Are Religions for Sale?: Evidence from the Swedish Church Revolt Over Same-Sex Marriage
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
2019 (English)In: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, ISSN 0021-8294, E-ISSN 1468-5906, Vol. 58, no 2, p. 336-359Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Religious leaders sometimes condemn progressive social norms. This article revisits David Hume's hypothesis that secular states can "bribe" churches into adopting less strict religious doctrines. The hypothesis is difficult to test due to reverse causality: more liberal theologies may attract more political support in the first place. The empirical strategy used to circumvent this problem focuses on a theological conflict over same-sex marriage within the Church of Sweden and takes advantage of political regulations that effectively make some parishes shareholders of the church's state-protected property. The shares used for statistical identification are tied to property rights assigned more than 300 years ago, and they cannot be sold, traded, or amended by the individual parishes. The results show that priests in shareholding parishes are less likely to publicly oppose same-sex marriage. The impact of political protection is stronger in parishes with more conservative members. The results are consistent with a model of clerical opportunism, in which income protection makes priests less likely to pander to the stricter followers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
WILEY , 2019. Vol. 58, no 2, p. 336-359
Keywords [en]
religious orthodoxy, same-sex marriage, subsidies, rent-seeking, religious market hypothesis
National Category
Religious Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-390636DOI: 10.1111/jssr.12592ISI: 000474593800002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-390636DiVA, id: diva2:1344687
Available from: 2019-08-21 Created: 2019-08-21 Last updated: 2019-08-21Bibliographically approved

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Bengtsson, Niklas

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