Religiosity and State Welfare

32 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2013 Last revised: 19 May 2022

See all articles by Angela K. Dills

Angela K. Dills

Western Carolina University

Rey Hernández-Julián

Metropolitan State College of Denver

Date Written: June 2013


The Catholic sex abuse scandals reduced both membership and religiosity in the Catholic Church. Because government spending on welfare may substitute for the religious provision of social services, we consider whether this plausibly exogenous decline in religiosity affected several measures of the public taste towards government spending on welfare between 1990 and 2008. In places where there were more scandals, individuals state a preference for less government provision of social services. In contrast, a higher level of abuse is also associated with an increase in voting for Democratic candidates for President and state legislatures, and an increase in per capita government welfare spending, although this increase is insufficient to replace the decrease in Catholic-provided charity.

Suggested Citation

Dills, Angela K. and Hernandez-Julian, Rey, Religiosity and State Welfare (June 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19169, Available at SSRN:

Angela K. Dills (Contact Author)

Western Carolina University ( email )

Cullowhee, NC 28723
United States
8282273329 (Phone)


Rey Hernandez-Julian

Metropolitan State College of Denver ( email )

Student Success Building
890 Auraria Pkwy #310
Denver, CO 80217
United States

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