The explosive combination of religious decentralization and autocracy: The case of Islam

Emmanuelle Auriol, Jean-Philippe Platteau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The relationship between religion and politics is explored from a theoretical standpoint. Religious clerics can be seduced by an autocrat and political stability is at stake. The autocrat’s decisions consist of two measures both capable of antagonizing religious clerics: adopting secular reforms and unduly appropriating part of the national wealth, which generally are complements. Compared to centralized religions, decentralized religions, such as Islam, tend to discourage secular reforms and corruption but those effects are not guaranteed if the autocrat accepts political instability. The main hypotheses and the central results of the theory are illustrated with regime case studies that refer to contemporary times.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-350
Number of pages38
JournalEconomics of Transition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017



  • autocracy
  • instrumentalization of religion
  • centralized and decentralized religion
  • Islam
  • economic development
  • reforms
  • corruption
  • Autocracy

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