Church Membership and Social Insurance: Evidence from the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927
Discussion Papers on Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, 7/2016
52 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2016
Date Written: November 1, 2016
Religious communities 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. We also document that fundamental denominations gained more members in flooded counties, which is consistent with the theory of club goods emphasizing the efficient provision of mutual insurance in stricter religious communities.
Keywords: Religion, Informal insurance, Club goods, Natural disasters
JEL Classification: Z12, H40, D70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation