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God Insures those Who Pay? Formal Insurance and Religious Offerings in Ghana

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Listed:
  • Emmanuelle Auriol
  • Julie Lassébie
  • Amma Panin
  • Eva Raiber
  • Paul Seabright

Abstract

This article provides experimental support for the hypothesis that insurance can be a motive for religious donations. We randomize enrollment of members of a Pentecostal church in Ghana into a commercial funeral insurance policy. Then church members allocate money between themselves and a set of religious goods in a series of dictator games with significant stakes. Members enrolled in insurance give significantly less money to their own church compared with members who only receive information about the insurance. Enrollment also reduces giving toward other spiritual goods. We set up a model exploring different channels of religiously based insurance. The implications of the model and the results from the dictator games suggest that adherents perceive the church as a source of insurance and that this insurance is derived from beliefs in an interventionist God. Survey results suggest that material insurance from the church community is also important and we hypothesize that these two insurance channels exist in parallel.

Suggested Citation

  • Emmanuelle Auriol & Julie Lassébie & Amma Panin & Eva Raiber & Paul Seabright, 2020. "God Insures those Who Pay? Formal Insurance and Religious Offerings in Ghana," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(4), pages 1799-1848.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:135:y:2020:i:4:p:1799-1848.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjaa015
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    Cited by:

    1. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Delissaint, Diego & Fourati, Maleke & Miquel-Florensa, Josepa & Seabright, Paul, 2021. "Betting on the lord: Lotteries and religiosity in Haiti," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    2. Hasan, Iftekhar & Manfredonia, Stefano & Noth, Felix, 2021. "Cultural resilience, religion, and economic recovery: Evidence from the 2005 hurricane season," IWH Discussion Papers 9/2021, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    3. Hasan, Iftekhar & Manfredonia, Stefano & Noth, Felix, 2020. "Cultural resilience and economic recovery: Evidence from Hurricane Katrina," IWH Discussion Papers 16/2020, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    4. Panin, Amma, 2021. "Four reasons why analysis of economic policy and religion go hand-in-hand in sub-Saharan Africa," PEGNet Policy Briefs 23/2020, PEGNet - Poverty Reduction, Equity and Growth Network, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. Emmanuelle Auriol & Diego Delissaint & Maleke Fourati & Josepa Miquel‐Florensa & Paul Seabright, 2021. "Trust in the image of God: Links between religiosity and reciprocity in Haiti," Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 29(1), pages 3-34, January.
    6. Bittschi, Benjamin & Dwenger, Nadja & Rincke, Johannes, 2021. "Water the flowers you want to grow? Evidence on private recognition and donor loyalty," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
    7. Raiber, Eva & Seabright, Paul, 2020. "U.S. Churches' Response to Covid-19: Results from Facebook," CEPR Discussion Papers 15566, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Jan Engelmann & Maël Lebreton & Peter Schwardmann & Joël van der Weele & Li-Ang Chang, 2019. "Anticipatory Anxiety and Wishful Thinking," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 19-042/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Eva Raiber & Paul Seabright, 2020. "U.S. Churches' Response to Covid-19: Results from Facebook," Post-Print halshs-03140130, HAL.
    10. Linda Thunström, 2020. "Thoughts and prayers – Do they crowd out charity donations?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 60(1), pages 1-28, February.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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