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Deliver us from evil: religion as insurance

Author

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  • Andrew E. Clark

    (IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - IZA, PJSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Orsolya Lelkes

    (European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research - European Centre)

Abstract

This paper focusses on the insurance role of religion in buffering the well-being impact of stressful life events, and the ensuing economic and social implications. Using two large-scale European data sets, we show that the religious enjoy higher levels of life satisfaction, and that religion does insure against some adverse life events. All denominations suffer less psychological harm from unemployment than do the non-religious; equally both Catholics and Protestants are less hurt by marital separation. However, while Protestants are protected against divorce, Catholics are punished for it. These results do not seem to come about from the endogeneity of religion. These patterns in subjective well-being correspond to data on both attitudes (the religious are both anti-divorce and anti-job creation for the unemployed) and behaviour (the religious unemployed are less likely to be actively looking for work). In panel data, as implied by insurance, the religious have less variation in life satisfaction. Last, we suggest that religion's insurance role might be reflected in support for different economic and social systems: consistent with this, unemployment replacement rates across Europe are lower in more religious countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew E. Clark & Orsolya Lelkes, 2005. "Deliver us from evil: religion as insurance," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590570, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00590570
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00590570
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
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    8. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2003. "Are there Regional Variations in the Psychological Cost of Unemployment in South Africa?," Labor and Demography 0310006, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 28 Oct 2003.
    9. Lelkes, Orsolya, 2006. "Tasting freedom: Happiness, religion and economic transition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 173-194, February.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    life satisfaction; religion; unemployment; marriage; divorce; insurance;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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