Monday, February 3, 2014

Saints and Religious Competition

Guest post by TA Jerrod Anderson

Most of our discussion of the demand for religion has focused on church attendance (when is church attendance high, when is it low, how do special events affect church attendance, etc.). With our discussion of clubs and religious monopolies later in the class you will get a better idea of how the competitive landscape affects the quality attributes of religious products (some of which you have already seen in God is Back). This Economist article ( highlights the changes the Roman Catholic Church has made in their procedures for declaring someone to be a saint, particularly the practice of putting a price cap on the amount of money that can be spent to promote possible sainthood. Think about how this may be a response to the competition in religious marketplace in developing countries (the introduction to God is Back provides some clues). Just like churches may use special guest speakers to increase attendance, perhaps the Catholic Church uses its choice of saints to increase adherence in various markets.

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