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The invisible hand plays dice: multiple equilibria in sects markets

Panu Poutvaara () and Andreas Wagener

Munich Reprints in Economics from University of Munich, Department of Economics

Abstract: Religious participation is much more widespread in the United Statesthan in Europe, while Europeans tend to view sects more suspiciouslythan Americans We propose an explanation for these patterns withoutassuming differences in preferences or market fundamentals We study areligious market where both demand and supply of spiritual services areendogenous Such markets may have multiple equilibria Further, equilibriawith more sects result in higher welfare and lower membership costs, assecular societies tend to host on average more demanding sects

Date: 2010
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Published in Public Choice 3-4 145(2010): pp. 483-502

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