IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/kud/kuiedp/1506.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Acts of God? Religiosity and Natural Disasters Across Subnational World Districts

Author

Listed:
  • Jeanet Sinding Bentzen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

Religiosity affects everything from fertility and health to labor force participation and productivity. But why are some societies more religious than others? To answer this question, I rely on the religious coping theory, which states that many individuals draw on their religious beliefs to understand and deal with adverse life events. Combining subnational district level data on values across the globe from the World Values Survey with spatial data on natural disasters, I find that individuals become more religious when their district was hit recently by an earthquake. And further, I find that this short-term effect co-exists with a long-term impact: Using data on children of immigrants in Europe, I document that high religiosity levels evolve in high earthquake risk areas, and are passed on across generations to individuals no longer living in these areas. The impact is global: earthquakes increase religiosity both within Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, and within all continents. I document that the results are consistent with the literature on religious coping and inconsistent with alternative theories such as insurance or selection.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, 2015. "Acts of God? Religiosity and Natural Disasters Across Subnational World Districts," Discussion Papers 15-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1506
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/dp_2015/1506.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Williams, David R. & Larson, David B. & Buckler, Robert E. & Heckmann, Richard C. & Pyle, Caroline M., 1991. "Religion and psychological distress in a community sample," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 1257-1262, January.
    2. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "People's opium? Religion and economic attitudes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 225-282, January.
    3. Guido Tabellini, 2010. "Culture and Institutions: Economic Development in the Regions of Europe," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 677-716, June.
    4. Philipp Ager & Antonio Ciccone, 2013. "Rainfall Risk and Religious Membership in the Late Nineteenth-Century US," Working Papers 2013-17, FEDEA.
    5. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2012. "Persecution Perpetuated: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Violence in Nazi Germany," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1339-1392.
    6. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompqllr09iatsh0to2 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Jonathan Gruber & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2008. "The Church Versus the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 831-862.
    8. Andrew E. Clark & Orsolya Lelkes, 2005. "Deliver us from evil: religion as insurance," Working Papers halshs-00590570, HAL.
    9. Anderson, R. Warren & Johnson, Noel D & Koyama, Mark, 2013. "From the Persecuting to the Protective State? Jewish Expulsions and Weather Shocks from 1100 to 1800," MPRA Paper 44228, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano & Nathan Nunn, 2013. "On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 469-530.
    11. Eduardo Cavallo & Sebastian Galiani & Ilan Noy & Juan Pantano, 2013. "Catastrophic Natural Disasters and Economic Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(5), pages 1549-1561, December.
    12. Filipe Campante & David Yanagizawa-Drott, 2013. "Does Religion Affect Economic Growth and Happiness? Evidence from Ramadan," CID Working Papers 274, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    13. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2011. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3221-3252, December.
    14. Peter Simonsen, 2012. "Earthquakes and Economic Growth," Development Research Working Paper Series 01/2012, Institute for Advanced Development Studies.
    15. Gruber Jonathan H, 2005. "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-32, September.
    16. 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.
    17. Evelyn L. Lehrer, 2004. "Religion as a Determinant of Economic and Demographic Behavior in the United States," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(4), pages 707-726, December.
    18. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
    19. Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, 2013. "Origins of Religiousness: The Role of Natural Disasters," Discussion Papers 13-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    20. Durante, Ruben, 2009. "Risk, Cooperation and the Economic Origins of Social Trust: an Empirical Investigation," MPRA Paper 25887, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
    22. Ahlerup, Pelle, 2013. "Are Natural Disasters Good for Economic Growth?," Working Papers in Economics 553, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    23. Miles S. Kimball & Colter M. Mitchell & Arland D. Thornton & Linda C. Young-Demarco, 2009. "Empirics on the Origins of Preferences: The Case of College Major and Religiosity," NBER Working Papers 15182, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. repec:hrv:faseco:33077826 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Jonathan Gruber, 2005. "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?," NBER Working Papers 11377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
    27. Daniel L. Chen, 2010. "Club Goods and Group Identity: Evidence from Islamic Resurgence during the Indonesian Financial Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(2), pages 300-354, April.
    28. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-950, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Sriya Iyer, 2016. "The New Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(2), pages 395-441, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Philipp Ager & Antonio Ciccone, 2013. "Rainfall Risk and Religious Membership in the Late Nineteenth-Century US," Working Papers 2013-17, FEDEA.
    4. 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).
    5. Bentzen, Jeanet Sinding, 2021. "In crisis, we pray: Religiosity and the COVID-19 pandemic," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 192(C), pages 541-583.
    6. Dehejia, Rajeev & DeLeire, Thomas & Luttmer, Erzo F.P., 2007. "Insuring consumption and happiness through religious organizations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 259-279, February.
    7. Spenkuch, Jörg L., 2017. "Religion and work: Micro evidence from contemporary Germany," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 193-214.
    8. A. Alesina & P. Giuliano., 2016. "Culture and institutions," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 10.
    9. Nunn, Nathan, 2014. "Historical Development," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 7, pages 347-402, Elsevier.
    10. Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, 2013. "Origins of Religiousness: The Role of Natural Disasters," Discussion Papers 13-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    11. Olga Popova, 2016. "Suffer for the Faith? Parental Religiosity and Children’s Health," Working Papers 356, Leibniz Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies).
    12. Silveus, Neil & Stoddard, Christiana, 2020. "Identifying the causal effect of income on religiosity using the Earned Income Tax Credit," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 903-924.
    13. Liang, Yinhe & Dong, Zhiyong, 2019. "Has education led to secularization? Based on the study of compulsory education law in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 324-336.
    14. Bentzen, Jeanet & Sperling, Lena, 2020. "God Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 14380, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Voigt, Stefan, 2022. "Determinant of Social Norms," ILE Working Paper Series 58, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.
    16. Adrian Chadi & Matthias Krapf, 2017. "The Protestant Fiscal Ethic: Religious Confession And Euro Skepticism In Germany," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1813-1832, October.
    17. Gharad Bryan & James J Choi & Dean Karlan, 2021. "Randomizing Religion: the Impact of Protestant Evangelism on Economic Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 136(1), pages 293-380.
    18. Xu, Xixiong & Li, Yaoqin & Liu, Xing & Gan, Weiyu, 2017. "Does religion matter to corruption? Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 34-49.
    19. Nunziata, Luca & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2011. "The Implications of Cultural Background on Labour Market Choices: The Case of Religion and Entrepreneurship," IZA Discussion Papers 6114, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Fletcher, Jason & Kumar, Sanjeev, 2014. "Religion and risky health behaviors among U.S. adolescents and adults," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 123-140.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religiosity; Natural disasters; Religious coping;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1506. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/okokudk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Thomas Hoffmann (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/okokudk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.