Presentation Paper: Economic Growth, Preference Falsification and Religious Fervour in Quebec – 1920 to 1970

The deadlines have passed and I have submitted the following paper (co-authored with Hubert Villeneuve of McGill University) to the Cliometric Society that will hold a conference in Seattle in the beginning of this summer. Here is the abstract:

Before the Cascade – Economic Growth, Preference Falsification and Religious Fervour: Quebec 1920 to 1970

Abstract: It is generally asserted that religious practices “backslided” in the province of Quebec rapidly from 1960 onwards, a development that is often associated with the rise of the welfare state, which stripped the Catholic Church from its various social responsibilities in areas such as education or healthcare. However, using insights developed by Rodney Stark, Laurence Iannaconne and Roger Finke, this paper proposes an alternate narrative which highlights the importance of various pre-1960s developments indicating that the erosion of religious influence might have preceded and evolved to a certain extent independently from the massive overhaul of the Quebec provincial state. This implies an important level of preference falsification. Finally, we contend that the use of the “economics of religion” yields more much potent and complete explanations than the existing literature conveys.

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