The Role of Religious Congregations in the Provision of Social Services in the U.S.: Lessons from an Event-Study Analysis of the Catholic-Clergy Scandals
Nicolas Luis Bottan
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics
Ricardo Perez Truglia
Harvard University - Department of Economics
July 1, 2013
We study how the Catholic-clergy sexual abuse scandals affected the social sector in the U.S. In order to estimate the causal effects of the scandals, we exploit the fine distribution of the scandals over space and time by means of an event-study analysis. The scandals caused a long-lasting decline in religious congregations, charitable contributions and the provision of social services, but they did not affect either alternative forms of pro-social behavior or religious beliefs. The evidence suggests that religious participation does increase charitable giving, but mainly through social mechanisms (e.g., solicitation, social pressure) rather than belief-based mechanisms (e.g., belief in God).
Number of Pages in PDF File: 68
Keywords: religion, welfare, charitable giving, social capital, media
JEL Classification: D64, H41, L31, Z1, Z12working papers series
Date posted: September 6, 2011 ; Last revised: July 22, 2013
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