The economics of religion lays aside transcendent claims of the church to study it as a social organization that uses scarce resources to achieve its ends. In contrast to the secularization models deployed by some sociologists of religion, economic models of religion tend to suggest that free markets for religious services will encourage continual entry of new organisations, steadily enriching religion. There is, however, no unified economic model of religion. In this chapter, we consider the role of models that treats strictness in religious practice as a screening device that has the effect of reducing free riding where religious goods are collectively produced, the role of voluntary contributions as the main financing mechanism of churches, a characterisation of a denominational church as a franchise organisation, and the possibility that officials of monopoly churches might engage in rent seeking behaviour at the expense of church members.
T. Randolph Beard, Robert B. Ekelund, Jr., George S. Ford, and Robert D. Tollison
Schism and switching are important in religious markets when strict monopoly or force is not involved. The Protestant Reformation is an important case and may be seen as entry of a new firm into a previously monopolized market. This was essentially rent dissipation. Other cases may involve religious consumers switching to firms that better match their religious preferences. Firms in such a setting make strategic decisions about doctrine and costs imposed on consumers in order to capture segments of the market. Models of schism predict that it will be less prevalent in hierarchical churches where costs are higher, and this appears borne out by data. Models of switching suggest it will be common when brands of churches are numerous and similar, again borne out by data.
Ken Coutts and Neville Norman
This is a critical guide and commentary concerning post-Keynesian approaches toward the making of industrial prices. It focuses mainly on product or industry prices, though these pricing approaches have significant implications for the behavior of the economy overall, and in many applications within theoretical and applied economics. This field is a diverse range of contributions, many of which are in disagreement with each other. A note on how to recognize a good post-Keynesian economist or a clear post-Keynesian contribution is found as an addendum to the editors’ introduction to this volume and forms the basis for our presentation in section 2 below.
Frederic S. Lee
In this chapter, post-Keynesian price theory will be delineated. Because prices do not, from a post-Keynesian perspective, coordinate economic activity nor make economic activity happen, their theoretical role in a going economy has to be located elsewhere. In particular, prices are the primary mechanism through which business enterprises obtain their income to continue as a going enterprise. Therefore post-Keynesian price theory is concerned with explaining how the prices set by enterprises are going concern prices; how going concern prices are established at the level of the market where enterprises have to engage in competition; and what is the role of the price system in the economy.
Charles M. North
This chapter summarizes the current state of economic research on the regulation of religious markets and suggests directions for the future. Following a discussion of the differing views of Adam Smith and David Hume on the wisdom of state support of religion, the chapter next describes the early work—mainly by sociologists—on the empirical relationship between religious pluralism and religious participation. Because of substantial flaws in the pluralism/participation research, emphasis in more recent years has shifted to studying the effects of regulations on religion, such as the existence of state religions and restrictions on freedoms of religious groups. In the future, more work needs to be done to answer empirical questions on the effects of religious regulation, but more importantly economists need to develop a holistic theory of religious market regulation that accounts for the simultaneous decisions of individuals, religious organizations, and government actors.