Church Membership and Social Insurance: Evidence from the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927

50 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2014 Last revised: 16 Jun 2015

See all articles by Philipp Ager

Philipp Ager

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

Casper Worm Hansen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics; University of Copenhagen

Lars Lønstrup

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics

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Date Written: November 26, 2014

Abstract

Religious organizations are key providers of social insurance. This paper focuses on the devastating impact of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 to investigate how an increase in the demand for social insurance affects church membership. We find a significant increase in church membership in flooded counties. This effect is stronger in counties with severe economic losses and where access to credit was limited. Consistent with economic theories stressing the insurance aspect of religious organizations, we show that denominations with a relatively large church network, or classified as strict and charity-oriented, gained more members in flooded counties.

Keywords: Religion; Informal Insurance; Club Goods; Natural Disasters

JEL Classification: Z12; H40; D70

Suggested Citation

Ager, Philipp and Hansen, Casper Worm and Lønstrup, Lars, Church Membership and Social Insurance: Evidence from the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 (November 26, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2530868 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2530868

Philipp Ager

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

DK-5230 Odense
Denmark

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Casper Worm Hansen (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Copenhagen K, DK 1153
Denmark

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Nørregade 10
Copenhagen, København DK-1165
Denmark

Lars Lønstrup

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

HOME PAGE: http://www.sdu.dk/staff/loe.aspx

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