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Strategic Choice of Celibacy in the Catholic Church

Men-Andri Benz, Egon Franck () and Urs Meister

No 42, Working Papers from University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU)

Abstract: Since the middle ages celibacy is a necessary commitment when considering becoming a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. In the ongoing discussions about reforms, a wide range of church members ask for the abolishment of celibacy in order to meet believers? changed social and moral standards and to increase the quality and the quantity of priests. However, this paper shows that from a rational point of view, there are good reasons for the Catholic Church to keep or even to increase the role of celibacy for its priests. Using celibacy as a resource selection device, it allows the church to signal credibly its religious orientation to believers. Based on a game theoretic model this paper analyses the optimal use of celibacy in the market for religious services. Additionally we discuss the relevant impacts of higher income levels, higher opportunity costs, increasing aging or changed moral standards related to homosexuality.

Keywords: Religion; celibacy; strategic positioning (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D23 D83 L89 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cse
Date: 2005
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http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/iso/ISU_WPS/42_ISU_full.pdf First version, 2005 (application/pdf)

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:iso:wpaper:0042

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