Catholic Missionaries and Their Work with the Poor: Mitigating Market-Government Failure in Emerging Nations, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Catholic Missionaries and Their Work with the Poor

Mitigating Market-Government Failure in Emerging Nations, 1st Edition

By Albino Barrera


266 pages

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Hardback: 9780367029180
pub: 2018-12-11
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429019494
pub: 2018-12-21
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This book explores the vital role of faith-based organizations (FBOs) in compensating for the market’s and government’s inability to provide vital services. Its key theoretical contribution is the notion that poverty is the result of a triadic failure—when markets, government, and civil society become dysfunctional at the same time. Using data on Catholic missionaries’ development work, this study presents the various ways by which FBOs mitigate market and government failures in healthcare, education, and social services, and in the process build and strengthen civil society.

This study has two main objectives. First, it aims to present an overview of missionaries’ development work, evaluating the socioeconomic significance of their faith-based development work. In addition, various comparative advantages and disadvantages have been imputed to FBOs in the religion-development literature, and we assess to what extent missionaries actually exhibit these posited qualities in practice. Second, the groundwork is laid for future religion-development scholars by presenting a theoretical framework and a method for evaluating the role and contributions of FBOs in the larger community.

This is an important investigation of contemporary worldwide Christianity and its relationship with development. As such, it will interest scholars of religious studies and missiology, as well as development economics, public service and the political economy.

Table of Contents


1 Missionary Healthcare Services and their Outreach to the Ultra-Poor

2 Missionary Educational Initiatives for Children and Youth at-Risk

3 Missionary Social Services and their Positive Externalities for Development

4 Missionaries’ "Last-Mile" Comparative Advantages

5 Summary and Evaluation

About the Author

Albino Barrera is Professor of Economics and Theology at Providence College, USA. His research mainly focusses on moral theology, economic ethics, and the intersection of development economics and religion, and he has published multiple books and journal articles on these subjects. These include, Biblical Economic Ethics (2013) and Market Complicity and Christian Ethics (2011).

About the Series

Studies in World Christianity and Interreligious Relations

The aim of this series is to publish scholarly works of high merit on relations between believers of various streams of Christianity, as well as relations between believers of Christianity and other religions. We welcome studies from all disciplines, including multi- and interdisciplinary studies, which focus on intra- and inter-religious relations and are non-denominational.

Editorial Board

Francis Clooney (Cambridge, USA)
Fatimah Husein (Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
Diego Irarrazaval (Santiago, Chile)
Robert Schreiter (Chicago, USA)
Abdulkader Tayob (Cape Town, South Africa)
Anya Topolski (Nijmegen, The Netherlands)

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Christianity / Catholic
RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Missions
RELIGION / Christian Theology / General
RELIGION / Christianity / General
RELIGION / Religion, Politics & State
RELIGION / Christian Church / General
RELIGION / Christian Ministry / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology of Religion
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries