Is there a connection between government intervention in religious competition and partisan clientelism in democratic systems? Drawing on the economics of religion, we argue that alongside commonly examined population-level religious processes (religious diversity), state-level religious processes (government regulation of competition in the religious market) affect institutional performance in electoral democracies. Linking comparative indicators of religion-state relations with measures of partisan clientelism, statistical analysis suggests that uncompetitive religious markets, such as those where a dominant religion is sponsored by the state, create incentives, infrastructures and opportunities that favour clientelism. The study emphasises the importance of light-touch regulation of religion not merely as a normative principle narrowly related to religious freedom, but also as a potential remedy that can enhance the quality of political institutions.
|Number of pages||11|
|Early online date||12 Sep 2019|
|Publication status||Published - 31 Oct 2019|
- electoral clientelism
- economics of religion
- religion and the state