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Church Membership and Social Insurance: Evidence from the American South

Author

Listed:
  • Philipp Ager

    (Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark.)

  • Casper Worm Hansen

    (Department of Economics, Copenhagen University)

  • Lars Lønstrup

    ( Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark.)

Abstract

We examine the effect of increased demand for social insurance on church membership.Our empirical strategy exploits the differential impact of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 across counties to identify a shock to the demand for social insurance. We find that flooded counties experienced a significant increase in church membership. Consistent with economic theories about determinants of membership of religious organizations, our result suggests that local churches provided ex-post insurance for the needy and in return gained new members.

Suggested Citation

  • Philipp Ager & Casper Worm Hansen & Lars Lønstrup, 2014. "Church Membership and Social Insurance: Evidence from the American South," Discussion Papers 14-29, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1429
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth across Countries," Scholarly Articles 3708464, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2013. "Not the Opium of the People: Income and Secularization in a Panel of Prussian Counties," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 539-544, May.
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    4. Ran Abramitzky, 2008. "The Limits of Equality: Insights from the Israeli Kibbutz," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1111-1159.
    5. Philipp Ager & Antonio Ciccone, 2013. "Rainfall Risk and Religious Membership in the Late Nineteenth-Century US," Working Papers 2013-17, FEDEA.
    6. Harold Alderman & Christina H. Paxson, 1994. "Do the Poor Insure? A Synthesis of the Literature on Risk and Consumption in Developing Countries," International Economic Association Series, in: Edmar L. Bacha (ed.), Economics in a Changing World, chapter 3, pages 48-78, Palgrave Macmillan.
    7. Edmar L. Bacha (ed.), 1994. "Economics in a Changing World," International Economic Association Series, Palgrave Macmillan, number 978-1-349-23458-5, January.
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    9. Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
    10. Philipp Ager & Antonio Ciccone, 2018. "Agricultural Risk and the Spread of Religious Communities," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 1021-1068.
    11. Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, 2013. "Origins of Religiousness: The Role of Natural Disasters," Discussion Papers 13-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Philipp Ager & Antonio Ciccone, 2018. "Agricultural Risk and the Spread of Religious Communities," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 1021-1068.
    2. Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, 2019. "Acts of God? Religiosity and Natural Disasters Across Subnational World Districts," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(622), pages 2295-2321.
    3. Philipp Ager & Casper Worm Hansen & Lars Lønstrup, 2015. "Shaking up the Equilibrium: Natural Disasters, Immigration and Economic Geography," Discussion Papers 15-17, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    4. Shai, Ori, 2022. "Does armed conflict increase individuals’ religiosity as a means for coping with the adverse psychological effects of wars?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 296(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religion; Informal Insurance; Club Goods; Natural Disasters;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General

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