Church Membership and Social Insurance: Evidence from the American South

36 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2014

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

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 1, 2014

Abstract

We examine the effect of increased demand for social insurance on church membership. Our empirical strategy exploits the differential impact of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 across counties to identify a shock to the demand for social insurance. We find that flooded counties experienced a significant increase in church membership. Consistent with economic theories about determinants of membership of religious organizations, our result suggests that local churches provided ex-post insurance for the needy and in return gained new members.

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

JEL Classification: D70, E20, H40

Suggested Citation

Ager, Philipp and Hansen, Casper Worm and Lønstrup, Lars, Church Membership and Social Insurance: Evidence from the American South (December 1, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2533411 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2533411

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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