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Theocracy is just another Form of Dictatorship: Theory and Evidence from the Papal Regimes

Fabio Padovano () and Ronald Wintrobe

Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) from Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS

Abstract: This paper tests the explanatory and predictive power of a theory of dictatorship (e.g., Wintrobe 1998, 2007) when applied to the case of theocracy and in particular to the history of the temporal power of the Popes. We consider the behaviour of the Catholic theocracy in the Papal States, as this was a very long lasting theocracy, exposed to many historical shocks that reveal information about the incentives and constraints that characterize it. We use this information to test the explanatory power of the theory of dictatorship, showing that never in the history of the temporal power of the Church have the four categories of dictatorship that the theory foresees (tinpot, tyrant, totalitarian and conceivably timocrat) proven inadequate. Theocracy is just like any other form of dictatorship. Furthermore, we test some of the predictions of the theory of dictatorship about the durability of, and the source of opposition to the various regimes on data about the Papacy. The results appear to support the theory.

Keywords: Matching; Dictatorship; Theocracy; Papacy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Z12 N83 D79 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-his and nep-hme
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:tut:cremwp:201302

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