Competition and Civic Engagement in the Religious Marketplace
We develop a model of spatial competition to explain the high level of spending on social services that distinguishes American churches or faith-based organizations (FBOs). The model predicts that such spending, measured on a per member basis, rises as the equilibrium structure of the religious marketplace becomes more competitive. A simple test of the model using measures of a religious Herfindahl Index constructed by county and by year for panel data covering the years 1994 and 2000 confirms our analysis. As local FBO monopoly power grows, FBO spending on civic activities declines.