Insuring Consumption and Happiness through Religious Organizations
Rajeev H. Dehejia
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Wagner School of Public Service; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo
University of Wisconsin - Madison; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Erzo F. P. Luttmer
Dartmouth College; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
KSG Working Paper No. RWP05-047
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 54
Keywords: Economics - Microeconomics, Welfare/Health Care/Social Policyworking papers series
Date posted: September 8, 2005
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