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Rainfall Risk and Religious Membership in the Late Nineteenth-Century United States

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  • Ager, Philipp
  • Ciccone, Antonio

Abstract

Building on the idea that religious communities provide mutual insurance against some idiosyncratic risks, we argue that religious membership is more valuable in societies exposed to greater common risk. In our empirical analysis we exploit rainfall risk as a source of common economic risk in the nineteenth-century United States and show that religious communities were larger in counties where they faced greater rainfall risk. The link between rainfall risk and the size of religious communities is stronger in counties that were more agricultural, that had lower population densities, or that were exposed to greater rainfall risk during the growing season.

Suggested Citation

  • Ager, Philipp & Ciccone, Antonio, 2014. "Rainfall Risk and Religious Membership in the Late Nineteenth-Century United States," Working Papers 14-20, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mnh:wpaper:36848
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. La lluvia como causa de la religiosidad
      by Samuel Bentolila in Nada Es Gratis on 2014-01-22 12:55:53

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    Cited by:

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    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Grimm, Michael, 2016. "Rainfall Risk and Fertility: Evidence from Farm Settlements during the American Demographic Transition," IZA Discussion Papers 10351, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, 2013. "Origins of Religiousness: The Role of Natural Disasters," Discussion Papers 13-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    6. 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.
    7. Michael Grimm, 2021. "Rainfall risk, fertility and development: evidence from farm settlements during the American demographic transition," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(4), pages 593-618.
    8. 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.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N51 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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