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This chapter provides some straightforward examples of how public choice economics, which may be thought of as the intersection of economics and political science, and some of the concepts from industrial organization provide an avenue for explaining decisions made by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. In doing so, it provides a foundation for using these and other economics concepts to explain events surrounding the Salem witchcraft hysteria in 1692. The examples covered in this chapter include the Pope’s decree of 1966 relaxing the rules on fasting and abstinence from meat consumption, the Roman Catholic Church’s use, or lack thereof, of the Biblical doctrine of usury as a borrower and lender of funds, and the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrinal innovation represented by the creation of purgatory as a second chance for Catholics to prepare themselves for entry into Heaven.

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© 2015 Franklin G. Mixon, Jr.

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Mixon, F.G. (2015). Public Choice and the Economics of Religion. In: Public Choice Economics and the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria. Palgrave Pivot, New York.

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