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Rainfall Risk and Religious Membership in the Late Nineteenth-Century US

  • Philipp Ager
  • Antonio Ciccone

Insurance among the members of religious organizations should be more valuable in communities facing greater risk, making membership in religious organizations more attractive in high-risk environments. We examine the link between rainfall risk and church membership as well as seating capacity across US counties in the second half of the nineteenth century. Our results indicate that church membership and seating capacity were significantly larger in counties likely to have been subject to greater rainfall risk. This link is present among the most agricultural counties and among counties with low population densities, but not among less agricultural or more densely populated counties. Among the most agricultural counties, a one-standard-deviation increase in rainfall risk is associated with an increase in church seating capacity of around 32 percent in 1890 and 65 percent in 1860.

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Paper provided by FEDEA in its series Working Papers with number 2013-17.

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Date of creation: Dec 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2013-17
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