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Agricultural Risk and the Spread of Religious Communities

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  • Philipp Ager

    (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Antonio Ciccone

    (Mannheim University and Barcelona GSE)

Abstract

Building on the idea that members of religious communities insure each other against some idiosyncratic risks, we argue that religious communities should be more widespread where populations face greater common risk. Our empirical analysis exploits rainfall risk as a source of common agricultural risk in the nineteenth-century United States. We show that a greater share of the population was organized into religious communities in counties with greater rainfall risk. The link between rainfall risk and membership in religious communities is stronger among more agricultural counties and counties exposed to greater rainfall risk during the growing season.

Suggested Citation

  • Philipp Ager & Antonio Ciccone, 2015. "Agricultural Risk and the Spread of Religious Communities," Working Papers 0074, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0074
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religious community membership; agricultural risk; informal insurance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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