Liberté, égalité…religiosité

Authors: Joan-Maria Esteban, Gilat Levy and Laura Mayoral

Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 164, 241-253, August, 2018

We study the effect of religiosity on the political choices over redistribution and the legal restrictions on personal liberties. We assume that the more religious an individual is, (i) the less he enjoys the use of liberties prohibited by his religion; and (ii) the higher the negative externality experienced when others practice those liberties. We show that legal restrictions on liberties has an impact on income inequality. We find that when the religious cleavage in society is large, high intolerance due to negative externalities leads to a political outcome consisting of repression of liberties and relatively low taxes.

This paper originally appeared as Barcelona GSE Working Paper 1030