Religious market structure and democratic performance : clientelism

Patrikios, Stratos and Xezonakis, Georgios (2019) Religious market structure and democratic performance : clientelism. Electoral Studies, 61. 102073. ISSN 0261-3794

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    Abstract

    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.