Economic Growth and the Separation of Church and State: The French Case

By Franck, Raphael | Economic Inquiry, October 2010 | Go to article overview

Economic Growth and the Separation of Church and State: The French Case


Franck, Raphael, Economic Inquiry


I. INTRODUCTION

Historically, the decision to establish or forsake a state religion was seldom democratic. It resulted from the political leaders' willingness to consolidate their hold on power and did not reflect the people's attitudes toward a state religion. Even in a democracy like the United States, the separation of Church and State did not result from a popular vote but was derived from the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and subsequently reaffirmed by the Supreme Court.

France is actually one of the few countries where citizens had a say in the separation between Church and State. In 1905, the democratically elected French representatives adopted a bill that separated religion from the State. The bill abolished the Concordat, which had been instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1801 so as to govern the relationship between the French State and the Roman Catholic Church. Under this arrangement, the members of the Catholic clergy were paid by the French State, which in return had a say in their appointment. The 1905 bill ended state subsidies for the Church but also governmental interventions in the appointment of the Church's personnel.

The passing of the 1905 bill illustrates the progressive rejection of the Church in French politics. It occurred at a time when France remained an agricultural country, even though a growing share of the population worked in industrial activities. In addition, because primary education had been made compulsory in 1881 for both boys and girls, illiteracy was decreasing. Nevertheless, there remained many disparities between the different French departements. (1) For instance, the share of the French army's conscripts who were illiterate substantially varied between the different departements, from 0.32% in Haute Savoie to 16.89% in Morbihan.

In the academic literature, economists have shown that religious laws have consequences on economic growth and human capital, for example, Kuran (2003), Botticini and Eckstein (2005), Hillman (2007), but they still debate the causal relationship between a nation's actual degree of religious observance and economic development. There are indeed two major theories of religiosity: the religion-market model and the secularization hypothesis. The religion-market model, developed by Iannaccone (1991), Iannaccone and Stark (1994), Iannaccone, Finke, and Stark (1994), and Gill (1999) among others, argues that religious participation is mainly "supply driven". In other words, the government's intervention, such as the establishment of state religion, is a major determinant of religiosity.

However, following Weber (1905), proponents of the secularization hypothesis, such as Chaves (1994) and Bruce (2001), argue that religious participation is "demand driven." They consider that economic development, which includes industrialization, an increase in literacy and wealth, and a decrease in fertility rates, entails a decline in religiosity. This secularization process supposedly leads individuals to define themselves as less religious and decreases the influence of religion on social and political institutions. As a matter of fact, McCleary and Barro (2006) find in a study of religiosity in 68 countries that economic development has an overall negative effect on religiosity. Urbanization also makes individuals less observant, but education and the presence of children are positively correlated with religiosity.

Still, studies by Finke and Stark (1992), Iannaccone and Stark (1994), and Stark (1999), among others, argue that there is no empirical evidence to support secularization theories. In particular, the secularization hypothesis predicts that the separation between religion and state should become widespread as countries become richer, but Barro and McCleary (2005) cannot find any link between wealth, measured by a country's gross domestic product (GDP), and the current existence of a state religion. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Economic Growth and the Separation of Church and State: The French Case
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.