The power of religion

Journal of Economic Growth Vol/Iss. Online only Springer Published In Pages: 1-34
By Bentzen, Jeanet Sinding , Gokmen, Gunes


Societies with more religious laws in the past are less democratic.


This seeks to test the theory that societies that used religion for legitimacy in the past are more likely to be autocratic today. The authors also run tests to show that a presence of high gods in the past and a higher irrigation potential also reduce the likelihood of democracy, and that these effects appear to be largely influenced by the effect of religious law. It is also noted that modern Muslim countries account for a significant amount of this effect.


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Ordinary Least SquaresSupportedp<.01UNKNOWNUNKNOWN


Variable NameVariable Type OCM Term(s)
Presence of Religious LawsIndependentLaw, Theological Systems
Degree of DemocracyDependentForm And Rules Of Government