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Randomizing Religion: The Impact of Protestant Evangelism on Economic Outcomes

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  • Gharad T. Bryan
  • James J. Choi
  • Dean Karlan

Abstract

We study the causal impact of religiosity through a randomized evaluation of an evangelical Protestant Christian values and theology education program delivered to thousands of ultra-poor Filipino households. Six months after the program ended, treated households have higher religiosity and income; no statistically significant differences in total labor supply, consumption, food security, or life satisfaction; and lower perceived relative economic status. Exploratory analysis suggests that the income treatment effect may operate through increasing grit. Thirty months after the program ended, significant differences in the intensity of religiosity disappear, but those in the treatment group are less likely to be Catholic and more likely to be Protestant, and there is some mixed evidence that their consumption and perceived relative economic status are higher.

Suggested Citation

  • Gharad T. Bryan & James J. Choi & Dean Karlan, 2018. "Randomizing Religion: The Impact of Protestant Evangelism on Economic Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 24278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24278
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    Cited by:

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    2. Oeindrila Dube & Joshua E. Blumenstock & Michael Callen & Michael J. Callen, 2022. "Measuring Religion from Behavior: Climate Shocks and Religious Adherence in Afghanistan," CESifo Working Paper Series 10114, CESifo.
    3. Costa, Francisco Junqueira Moreira da & Marcantonio Junior, Angelo & Castro, Rudi Rocha de, 2018. "Stop suffering! Economic downturns and pentecostal upsurge," FGV EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 804, EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil).
    4. Benjamin W. Arold & Ludger Woessmann & Larissa Zierow, 2022. "Can Schools Change Religious Attitudes? Evidence from German State Reforms of Compulsory Religious Education," CESifo Working Paper Series 9504, CESifo.
    5. Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa & Smyth, Russell, 2022. "Protestantism and energy poverty," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C).
    6. Abu Siddique, 2021. "Behavioral Consequences of Religious Education," Munich Papers in Political Economy 10, Munich School of Politics and Public Policy and the School of Management at the Technical University of Munich.
    7. Alexandru BOSINCEANU, 2019. "Is Religion Bad For The Bank Account? An Analysis From The Netherlands," Proceedings of the INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE, Faculty of Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 13(1), pages 1014-1021, November.
    8. Hasan, Iftekhar & Noth, Felix & Tonzer, Lena, 2019. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against your customers: Cultural norms and the Volkswagen scandal," IWH Discussion Papers 21/2019, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    9. Crawfurd, Lee, 2019. "Does temporary migration from rich to poor countries cause commitment to development? Evidence from quasi-random Mormon mission assignments," SocArXiv 3hwga, Center for Open Science.
    10. Malik, Samreen & Mihm, Benedikt, 2022. "Parental religiosity and human capital development: A field study in Pakistan," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 197(C), pages 519-560.
    11. Ampofo, Akwasi & Mabefam, Matthew Gmalifo, 2021. "Religiosity and Energy Poverty: Empirical evidence across countries," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C).
    12. Lee Crawfurd, 2021. "Contact and Commitment to Development: Evidence from quasi‐random missionary assignments," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 74(1), pages 3-18, February.
    13. Mendolia Silvia & Paloyo Alfredo & Walker Ian, 2019. "Intrinsic Religiosity, Personality Traits, and Adolescent Risky Behaviors," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(3), pages 1-16, July.
    14. Goytom Abraha Kahsay & Workineh Asmare Kassie & Haileselassie Medhin & Lars Gårn Hansen, 2022. "Are religious farmers more risk taking? Empirical evidence from Ethiopia," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 53(4), pages 617-632, July.
    15. Bentzen, Jeanet & Sperling, Lena, 2020. "God Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 14380, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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