The economics of Puritanism’s treatment of bewitchment: exorcism as a potential market-pull innovation?
European Journal of Law and Economics
Economics of religion, Entrepreneurship, Exorcism, Market-pull innovation, Public choice theory, Rational choice theory, Witch trials
© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. A long history of research on the witchcraft hysteria in Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1692 contends that a group of Puritan ministers, including Salem Village’s Samuel Parris, developed and used the witchcraft hysteria in order to boost religiosity and church attendance in an effort to augment corporate and personal wealth. In carrying out this effort, these ministers pitted churched colonists against unchurched colonists, resulting in the wrongful convictions of 20 American colonials. This study argues that it might have ended without the executions of the colonists, and perhaps in even greater corporate wealth for the Puritan church, had Puritanism been receptive to the potential market-pull innovation represented by exorcism. Scrutiny of this proposition through the lens of rational choice theory suggests, however, that exorcism was inferior to executions as a technology choice for the congregant-maximizing Puritan ministers in Salem Village in 1692.
Mixon, Franklin G. and Upadhyaya, Kamal P., "The economics of Puritanism’s treatment of bewitchment: exorcism as a potential market-pull innovation?" (2020). Faculty Bibliography. 2660.