Persecution and Toleration

The Long Road to Religious Freedom

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Noel D. Johnson, Mark Koyama
Cambridge Studies in Economics, Choice, and Society
  • Cambridge, England: 
    Cambridge University Press
    , February
     368 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Religious freedom has become an emblematic value in the West. Embedded in constitutions and championed by politicians and thinkers across the political spectrum, it is to many an absolute value, something beyond question. Yet how it emerged, and why, remains widely misunderstood. Tracing the history of religious persecution from the Fall of Rome to the present-day, Noel D. Johnson and Mark Koyama provide a novel explanation of the birth of religious liberty. This book treats the subject in an integrative way by combining economic reasoning with historical evidence from medieval and early modern Europe. The authors elucidate the economic and political incentives that shaped the actions of political leaders during periods of state building and economic growth.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Noel D. Johnson is Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University, Virginia and a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center.

Mark Koyama is Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University, Virginia and a Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center. He was a 2017–2018 National Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

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