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Religion, Social Capital, and Business Bankruptcy in the United States, 1921-1932

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  • Bradley A. Hansen
  • Mary Eschelbach Hansen
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    Abstract

    We consider the value of social capital that derives from membership in a church. American states with larger churchgoing populations had lower business bankruptcy rates from 1921 to 1932, and states in which the churchgoing population was concentrated in few churches had business bankruptcy rates that were lower still. Both voluntary and involuntary bankruptcy were lower in states with higher church membership. The evidence suggests that church membership acted on bankruptcy through a safety net mechanism and not solely through indicating a preference for honoring commitment.

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    File URL: http://w.american.edu/cas/economics/repec/amu/workingpapers/2008-15.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2008
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by American University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2008-15.

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    Length: 35 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:1508

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    Web page: http://www.american.edu/cas/economics/

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    Keywords: business bankruptcy; church membership; social capital;

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    Cited by:
    1. Hansen, Mary Eschelbach & Hansen, Bradley A., 2012. "Crisis and Bankruptcy: The Mediating Role of State Law, 1920–1932," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(02), pages 448-468, June.

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