The Political Economy of Religious Organizations: A Network-Based Explanation for Government Allocation of Resources
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It is a fundamental assertion in political science that political parties in government allocate resources disproportionately to benefit the people who have voted for them and for projects that push forward their political agenda. However, this literature ignores the structural (network) limitations of policy making. By creating a new network model which depicts the structure and growth of loosely coupled religious organizations, I create a taxonomy of religious denominations and examine how their network structure affects their likelihood of receiving government support. I test this relationship empirically in the United States and Israel. In the United States, I examine President Bush’s Faith Based Initiative, which was expected to channel government funding mostly to conservative, white, southern churches. In Israel, I research the education systems of the different religious sectors and how much government support they receive, the common belief being that the ultra-orthodox receive the most. Using network modeling, formal modeling and instrumental variable analysis, I show that despite expectations, in the United States conservative congregations did not receive more funding and in Israel not all ultra-orthodox networks receive high levels of support. The significant predictor, in both cases, for receiving funding is the network structure of the denominations, where more hierarchical denominations are more likely to receive funding than those organized in a dispersed network structure.
Religion and Politics
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