Journal of Historical Political Economy > Vol 4 > Issue 2

Religious Violence and Coalition Politics in History

Desiree Desierto, Department of Economics, George Mason University, USA, , Mark Koyama, Department of Economics, George Mason University, USA,
Suggested Citation
Desiree Desierto and Mark Koyama (2024), "Religious Violence and Coalition Politics in History", Journal of Historical Political Economy: Vol. 4: No. 2, pp 281-309.

Publication Date: 08 Jul 2024
© 2024 D. Desierto and M. Koyama
Autocracy,  Comparative political economy,  Formal modelling,  Political economy,  Religion and politics
Religious violencetolerationselectorate theorystate capacityconflict


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In this article:
A Model of Selectorate Theory and Religious Persecution 
Model Robustness 
Discussion Informed by History 


We employ selectorate theory to model how coalition-based politics determines the intensity with which a state persecutes members of minority religions. A coalition of elites provides political support to the ruler and, in exchange, the ruler shares rents and sets religious policy. We find that full religious freedom is only attainable if the costs of enforcing religious policy unambiguously decrease with the extent of toleration; otherwise, e.g. when tolerant policy induces local pogroms, some persecution is undertaken by the state. In this case, we find that persecution is more intense the larger the size of the ruler's coalition. We discuss the predictions of the model using several episodes of religious violence drawn from history.



Journal of Historical Political Economy, Volume 4, Issue 2 Special Issue: Religion and Culture within Historical Political Economy
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.