Article

The Economics of Sainthood (A Preliminary Investigation)

Robert J. Barro, Rachel M. McCleary and Alexander McQuoid

in The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Religion

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780195390049
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195390049.013.0010

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Economics of Sainthood (A Preliminary Investigation)

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Saint making has been a major activity of the Roman Catholic Church for centuries. The pace of sanctifications has picked up noticeably in the past several decades under the most recent two popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. This article explores the economics of sainthood, applying social science reasoning to understand the Church's choices on numbers and characteristics of saints, gauged by the location and socioeconomic attributes of the persons designated as blessed. It analyzes long-term data on canonization (approval as a saint) and beatification (final stage of qualification for canonization) by the Catholic Church since 1588, when official Vatican records began.

Keywords: Roman Catholic Church; economics; sainthood; saint making; saints; canonization; beatification

Article.  8686 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Microeconomics ; Industry Studies

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