IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Religion and Preferences for Social Insurance


  • Scheve, Kenneth
  • Stasavage, David


In this paper we argue that religion and welfare state spending are substitute mechanisms that insure individuals against adverse life events. As a result, individuals who are religious are predicted to prefer lower levels of social insurance than will individuals who are secular. To the extent policy outcomes reflect individual preferences, then countries with higher levels of religiosity should have lower levels of welfare state spending. In formalizing our argument we also suggest that if benefits from religion are subject to a network externality (I derive greater pleasure from religion when others are also religious), it is possible for countries that are similar in terms of underlying conditions to exhibit multiple equilibria with respect to religion and social insurance. We empirically test our predictions using individual-level data on religiosity, individual-level data on social insurance preferences, and cross-country data on social spending outcomes. The findings are strongly supportive of our hypotheses.

Suggested Citation

  • Scheve, Kenneth & Stasavage, David, 2006. "Religion and Preferences for Social Insurance," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 1(3), pages 255-286, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:now:jlqjps:100.00005052

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:now:jlqjps:100.00005052. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alet Heezemans). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.