Rainfall Risk and Religious Membership in the Late Nineteenth-Century United States

43 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2014

See all articles by Philipp Ager

Philipp Ager

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Antonio Ciccone

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: July 2014

Abstract

Building on the idea that religious communities provide mutual insurance against some idiosyncratic risks, we argue that religious membership is more valuable in societies exposed to greater common risk. In our empirical analysis we exploit rainfall risk as a source of common economic risk in the nineteenth-century United States and show that religious communities were larger in counties where they faced greater rainfall risk. The link between rainfall risk and the size of religious communities is stronger in counties that were more agricultural, that had lower population densities, or that were exposed to greater rainfall risk during the growing season.

Keywords: agricultural risk, informal insurance, religious community size

JEL Classification: D1, D8, N31, N51, O1, Q10, Z12

Suggested Citation

Ager, Philipp and Ciccone, Antonio, Rainfall Risk and Religious Membership in the Late Nineteenth-Century United States (July 2014). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP10079. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2501553

Philipp Ager (Contact Author)

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

DK-5230 Odense
Denmark

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Antonio Ciccone

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain
+34 93 542 1669 (Phone)
+34 93 542 1746 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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