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Insuring Consumption and Happiness Through Religious Organizations

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  • Rajeev Dehejia
  • Thomas DeLeire
  • Erzo F.P. Luttmer

Abstract

This paper examines whether involvement with religious organizations insures an individual's stream of consumption and of happiness. Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX), we examine whether households who contribute to a religious organization are able to insure their consumption stream against income shocks and find strong insurance effects for whites. Using the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH), we examine whether individuals who attend religious services are able to insure their stream of happiness against income shocks and find strong happiness insurance effects for blacks but smaller effects for whites. Overall, our results are consistent with the view that religion provides an alternative form of insurance for both whites and blacks though the mechanism by which religious organizations provide insurance to each of these groups appears to be different.

Suggested Citation

  • Rajeev Dehejia & Thomas DeLeire & Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2005. "Insuring Consumption and Happiness Through Religious Organizations," NBER Working Papers 11576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11576
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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