Competition and participation in religious markets: Evidence from Victorian Scotland

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    In 1885, the largest churches in Scotland were engaged in a dispute about state funding. We use data generated in the course of that dispute to test two related hypotheses. First, as market size (proxied by population) increases, the competitiveness (or complexity) of the religious market structure will not decrease. Second, religious activity, as measured by giving per member, church income and participation, will not decrease as market competitiveness (or complexity) increases. Empirical evidence lends support to the first hypothesis, but casts doubt on the second, and the supply-side theories underpinning it, which posit a causal link between increased competitiveness (complexity) and higher levels of religious activity. In interpreting the results the importance of a rich understanding of institutional arrangementsparticularly market structure, governance and financingis underlined. © 2008 The Association for Social Economics.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)437-467
    Number of pages31
    JournalReview of Social Economy
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


    • Competition
    • Institutional structure
    • Presbyterian
    • Scotland


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