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ECONOMIC GROWTH AND THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: THE FRENCH CASE

Raphael Franck ()

Economic Inquiry, 2010, vol. 48, issue 4, 841-859

Abstract: This article provides a test of the secularization hypothesis, which argues that economic growth, industrialization, increased literacy, and low fertility decrease religiosity. It focuses on the elections of the secular politicians who voted in favor of the separation between Church and State in the French Parliament in 1905. If the secularization hypothesis is correct, these secular politicians should have been elected in the most developed areas of France at the turn of the twentieth century. Contrary to the predictions of the secularization hypothesis, we find that the support for secular politicians originated in the rural areas of France. (JEL Z12, D72, N43)

Date: 2010
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