Selected Publications

My research has explored the role and influence of religion in politics, including in conflict, through various avenues, with an emphasis on institutions and beliefs. I have also examined the political economy of corruption, with an emphasis on the perverse incentives of economic and political competition. These themes intersect in a new project, which also considers gender politics, on sex abuse and sexual assault in the Catholic Church and the military. This project and other forthcoming work is discussed here.


Carolyn M. Warner, Ramazan Kılınç, Christopher W. Hale and Adam B. Cohen, Generating Generosity in Catholicism and Islam: Beliefs, Institutions and Public Goods Provision. 2018. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Series in Economics, Choice, and Society. ISBN9781316501320

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Using an innovative methodological approach combining field experiments, case studies, and statistical analyses, this book explores how the religious beliefs and institutions of Catholics and Muslims prompt them to be generous with their time and resources. Drawing upon research involving more than 1,000 Catholics and Muslims in France, Ireland, Italy, and Turkey, the authors examine Catholicism and Islam in majority and minority contexts, discerning the specific factors that lead adherents to help others and contribute to social welfare projects. Based on theories from political science, economics, religious studies and social psychology, this approach uncovers the causal connections between religious community dynamics, religious beliefs and institutions, and socio-political contexts in promoting or hindering the generosity of Muslims and Catholics. The study also provides insight into what different religious beliefs mean to Muslims and Catholics, and how they understand those concepts.

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Carolyn M. Warner. The Best System Money Can Buy: Corruption in the European Union. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007. A 2008 Choice Magazine “Outstanding Academic Title.”

Introduction reprinted in Public Sector Corruption London: Sage Publications, Michael Johnston, ed., Vol. 2. 2010.

Abstract: The book challenges the accepted wisdom about corruption. It provides a framework for understanding the persistence of corruption in the wealthy, western countries of the EU, using case studies to show that under certain conditions, politicians and firms across Western Europe, to counter the increased competition they face due to liberal market and political reforms, resort to corruption. The book highlights the frailties of international organizations in policing the behavior of their members. Research for it and related publications was funded by the National Science Foundation, the European University Institute, and the Hoover Institution and Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University.

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Confessions book cover

Carolyn M. Warner. Confessions of an Interest Group: The Catholic Church and Political Parties in Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Detailed commentary in Eva Bellin, “Faith in Politics: New Trends in the Study of Religion and Politics,” World Politics 60/2 (Jan. 2008): 315-47.

Abstract: This book’s contribution is four-fold:  first, it shows that the extent and durability of interest group/party linkages vary according to solutions to contracting problems, and to organizational definitions of “self-interest.”  Second, it shows that, while it is a tempting simplification, interest groups and parties which seem ideologically related are not interchangeable; they have divergent motivations and goals which substantially condition their ability to ally with each other. Third, organized religions can be analyzed as interest groups seeking suppliers of politically useful products. Fourth, history matters: as historical institutionalists argue, divergent national trajectories lead to different weightings of costs and benefits of actions by institutional actors. The book seeks to explain systematically the differing strategies that the Catholic Churches of Italy, France and Germany adopted vis-à-vis the post-World War II Christian Democratic parties.  The primary empirical focus is on Italy and France; Germany is analyzed in one chapter.

The book argues that the Catholic Church is an interest group whose actions can be modeled as if it were a firm in a market seeking a supplier of goods.  When an interest group allies with a political party, it usually commits a specific set of assets.  Doing so creates a demand for a complex arrangement with a variety of guarantees against being exploited.  I present this argument using economic and rational choice terminology and concepts.  Previous studies of interest group/party relations have ignored the problems inherent in those relations, and thus have been unable to explain puzzling results, such as the ones this book analyzes; namely, why do some interest groups stick with suboptimal political parties.  With few exceptions, previous analyses of the Catholic Church’s behavior have stressed its values and cultural presence, and thus have been unable to account for the Church’s strategic political behavior in a variety of contexts.  To evaluate its argument, the book uses primary and secondary data, both qualitative and quantitative.

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Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles

Sex Abuse in the Military and the Catholic Church.

Jennet Kirkpatrick and Carolyn M. Warner. “Care and Justice: Care Ethics and the Restricted Reporting Sexual Assault Policy in the US Military.” American Journal of Political Science, first view Jan. 18, 2023.

Carolyn M. Warner and Mia A. Armstrong. “The Role of Military Law and Systemic Issues in the Military’s Handling of Sexual Assault Cases.” Law & Society Review 54/1 (March 2020): 265-300.

Carolyn M. Warner, “Benevolent Secularism and the Recalibration of Church-State Relations in Ireland in the aftermath of Clergy Child Sex Abuse Scandals,” Journal of Church and State 62/1 (Winter 2020): 86-109.

Carolyn M. Warner. “The Politics of Sex Abuse in Sacred Hierarchies. A Comparative Study of the Catholic Church and the Military in the United States.” Religions, 10/4 (April, 2019). DOI 10.3390/rel10040281

Religion, Generosity and Public Goods Provision.

Ramazan Kılınç and Carolyn M. Warner. “Micro-Foundations of Religion and Public Goods Provision: Belief, Belonging and Giving in Catholicism and Islam.” Politics and Religion 8/4 (2015): 718–744.

Findings featured in Washington Post Monkey Cage, Feb. 3, 2016, “Why give to charity? What Muslims and Catholics have in common.”

Carolyn M. Warner, Ramazan Kılınç, Christopher W. Hale, Adam B. Cohen, Kathryn A. Johnson. “Religion and Public Goods Provision: Experimental and Interview Evidence from Catholicism and Islam in Europe.” Comparative Politics 47/2 (Jan. 2015): 189–209.

Religion and Conflict.

Steven L. Neuberg, Carolyn M. Warner, Stephen A. Mistler, Anna Berlin, Eric D. Hill, Jordan D. Johnson, Gabrielle Filip-Crawford, Roger E. Millsap, George Thomas, Michael Winkelman, Benjamin J. Broome, Thomas J. Taylor, Juliane Schober. “Religion and Intergroup Conflict: Findings from the Global Group Relations Project.” Psychological Science 25/1 (2014): 198–206.

Religion and the Party Moderation Thesis:

Carolyn M. Warner. “Christian Democracy in Italy: An Alternative Perspective on Religious Party Moderation.” Party Politics 19/2 (March 2013): 256–276.

Miriam Fendius Elman and Carolyn M. Warner. “Democracy, Security and Religious Political Parties: A Framework for Analysis.” Asian Security 4/1 (Jan.–April 2008): 1–22.

Religion and Foreign Policy.

Carolyn M. Warner and Stephen G. Walker. “Thinking about the Role of Religion in Foreign Policy: A Framework for Analysis.” Foreign Policy Analysis 7 (Jan. 2011): 113–135.

Islam and Politics in Europe.

Carolyn M. Warner and Manfred W. Wenner. “Religion and the Political Organization of Muslims in Europe.” Perspectives on Politics 4/3 (Sept. 2006): 457–479. Reprinted in Muslim Diasporas in the West, Ed. by Tahir Abbas. London: Routledge, 2017.

Invited Symposium Review of Jytte Klausen. The Cartoons that Shook the World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. Perspectives on Politics (Sept. 2011) 9/3: 615-619.

For information on other publications, please see my CV.