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date: 25 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In the last twenty years, Christian history has attracted the effort of a number of economists, challenged by the fact that the mainline churches are among the longest-lasting institutions in world history. This chapter covers the subset of that research that, while part of the broader field of the economics of religion, more nearly falls within the public-choice approach, dividing it into main topics: doctrine and theology, Catholic saint-making, the working of the papacy as an institution, religious orders, and church leadership and governance. It is shown that the essential analytical tools of this research have been the classic public-choice models of collective decision-making, bureaucracy, dictatorship, rent-seeking, and clubs. The conclusion reviews neglected topics and modeling approaches that show potential for further progress.

Keywords: Christian church, theology, saint-making, pope, religious order, collective choice, rent-seeking, bureaucracy, dictatorship, club.

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