Catholic Losses Are Baptist Gains

In the zero-sum game of competitive markets, one company's misstep is often a rival's gain. But what about in the marketplace of religion?

A new study (PDF here) titled “Substitution and Stigma: Evidence on Religious Competition from the Catholic Sex-Abuse Scandal," by Notre Dame economist Daniel Hungerman, looks at whether other religious faiths gained from the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. Using data from 1990-2007, Hungerman finds significant spillover effects on other religious groups.

The big winner? Baptist churches, both financially and in membership growth.

What to Do With Down-on-Their-Luck Churches?

There are a growing number of churches in the U.S. that can no longer afford their upkeep, as costs are outpacing collections. In Europe, some churches have turned into techno-dance clubs. Would that work here?