DP11815 The Explosive Combination of Religious Decentralisation and Autocracy: the Case of Islam

Author(s): Emmanuelle Auriol, Jean-Philippe Platteau
Publication Date: January 2017
Keyword(s): Autocracy, centralized and decentralized religion, Corruption, economic development, instrumentalization of religion, Islam, reforms
JEL(s): D02, D72, N40, O57, P48, Z12
Programme Areas: Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11815

The relationship between religion and politics is explored from a theoretical standpoint. Religious clerics can be seduced by an autocrat and political stability is at stake. The autocrat's decisions consist of two measures susceptible of antagonising religious clerics: adopting secular reforms and unduly appropriating part of national wealth, which generally are complement. Compared to centralized religions, decentralized religions, such as Islam, tend to discourage secular reforms and corruption but those effects are not guaranteed if the autocrat accepts political instability. The main hypotheses and the central results of the theory are illustrated with regime case studies that refer to contemporary times.