July 2004

IZA DP No. 1227: Understanding the Development of Fundamentalism

published in: Public Choice, 2007, 132 (3-4), 257-271

We use economic theory to examine the intensity of fundamentalist sects. Leaders work to enhance their followers’ observance level. We model three stylized situations under which fundamentalist groups function, examining the intensity of observance in each. We find that, under reasonable conditions, rivalry among fundamentalists makes them more extreme.