Political regime change and cultural transmission of secularism

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Abstract

This paper develops a theory of the intergenerational transmission of the cultural value of secularism and its interaction with endogenous regime shifts between democracies and dictatorships. Religious citizens negatively value the personal and public use of “civil liberties” and secular citizens positively value such use, and the degree of civil liberties afforded is restricted by a politically determined legal cap (limitation) depending on the regime. The attitudes toward liberties are transmitted across generations, and governments can intervene in the directions of the cultural transmission. Civil liberties promote secular citizens’ investments and contribute to expanding the economy, which is a central concern of dictatorships. Religious citizens are more likely to prefer a religious society with a severe cap on civil liberties. The possibility that secular citizens prefer a secular dictatorship to a religious democracy makes a religious democracy more vulnerable to dictatorships. As a result, there could be a “weaker secularization cycle” in which secularization under dictatorships and de-secularization under religious democracies alternately happen. In this case, paradoxically, the nation needs to stay with a secular dictatorship for a long time and foster sufficient secularism to consolidate a future democracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-450
Number of pages20
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Regional Science
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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