Religious Co-option in Autocracy: A Theory Inspired by History

Auriol, Emmanuelle and Platteau, Jean-Philippe (2017) Religious Co-option in Autocracy: A Theory Inspired by History. Journal of Development Economics, vol.127. pp. 395-412.

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Official URL: http://tse-fr.eu/pub/31298

Abstract

The relationship between religion and politics is explored from a theoretical standpoint, assuming that religious clerics can be coopted by the ruler acting as an autocrat. The comparative effects of decentralized versus centralized religions on the optimal level of cooperation between the autocrat and the religious clerics, which itself impinges upon political stability, is analysed. The paper shows that the presence of a decentralized body of clerics makes autocratic regimes more unstable. It also shows that in time of stability, the level of reforms is larger with a centralized religion than with a decentralized one. When the autocrat in the decentralized case pushes more reforms than in the centralized one, he always does so at the cost of stability. Historical case studies are presented that serve to illustrate the main results.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: July 2017
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Autocracy, instrumentalization of religion, centralized and decentralized religion, Islam, economic development, reforms
JEL codes: D02 - Institutions - Design, Formation, and Operations
D72 - Economic Models of Political Processes - Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
N40 - General, International, or Comparative
O57 - Comparative Studies of Countries
P48 - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights
Z12 - Religion
Subjects: B- ECONOMIE ET FINANCE
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2017 12:32
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2018 10:19
OAI ID: oai:tse-fr.eu:31298
URI: http://publications.ut-capitole.fr/id/eprint/22668

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