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Title: Economic inequality, corruption and the Christian churches in low- and middle-income countries
Author: Allaby , Martin Arnold Kenworthy
Awarding Body: Oxford Centre for Mission Studies
Current Institution: Oxford Centre for Mission Studies
Date of Award: 2010
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Extreme economic inequality is an obstacle to poverty reduction, because it slows economic growth and because fewer people are lifted out of poverty when growth does occur. Economic inequality is greatest in Protestant and Catholic developing countries, and a World Bank paper has suggested that Christianity causes economic inequality. This thesis develops a statistical model in which religions are associated with the main influences on economic inequality, but are not the main influences themselves. Among the 77 never-Communist developed and developing countries with available data, economic inequality is greatest in countries that export raw products and where governments are large and corrupt. Low population density and British colonial influence are proposed as the main reasons why Christianity has come to be associated with these influences on economic inequality. Countries with more Protestants tend to have slightly less corruption, though this association is stronger for high income countries with a long Protestant history than for low- or middle-income countries where Protestantism is more recent. Suggested mechanisms for this association are that Protestants may oppose corruption through preaching, through working within state institutions, or through promoting civic oversight of the state. Key informants in four case-study countries did not regard Evangelicals as particularly effective in opposing corruption through any of the suggested mechanisms, but for reasons that differed across the four countries. Evangelicals in two mainly Protestant countries were seen as having lost their moral authority through being compromised by the state. Evangelicals in two mainly Catholic countries have a reputation for honest behaviour, but are seen as too detached from society to have much impact on corruption. To the extent that Evangelicals can maintain, or recover, their moral authority while also engaging with society they may be able to make a useful contribution to reducing corruption, and hence inequality and poverty.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available