Supply-Side Explanations for Religious Change

Roger Finke, Laurence R. Iannaccone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

203 Scopus citations


Traditional scholarship approaches religious history from the demand side, attributing developments to the shifting desires, perceptions, and circumstances of religious consumers. This article advocates an alternative, supply-side approach that emphasizes the opportunities and restrictions confronting religious organizations and their leaders. Supply shifts lie at the root of major religious changes in America. Colonial revivalists, Asian cult leaders, and contemporary televangelists all prospered when regulatory changes gave them freer access to America's religious marketplace. The article concludes with a discussion of recent judicial decisions that threaten to restrict the future supply of religious innovation in America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-39
Number of pages13
JournalThe ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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