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Does establishment suppress the political activities of religious congregations? Evidence from Switzerland

  • Jörg Stolz (a1) and Christophe Monnot (a2)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.

Abstract

Establishment of churches is a central feature of the church-state regime in most European countries, and understanding the nature of such privileges is of key importance for both theoretical and political reasons. Yet, there is little empirical research on how establishment influences the organizational behavior of congregations. This article looks at this question by focusing on one relationship in one geographical context: we investigate whether establishment suppresses the political activities of congregations in Switzerland or not. We identify mechanisms that might lead establishment to suppress the political activities of congregations, and other mechanisms that might enhance such activities. We use representative National Congregation Study Data from Switzerland. Our results are unequivocal: establishment does not suppress the political activities of congregations. The level of establishment of the canton has no significant impact either on established congregations or on the religious field as a whole. Rather than establishment, important determinants of the political activities of congregations are religious tradition and income.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jörg Stolz, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland. E-mail: joerg.stolz@unil.ch

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