Randomizing Religion: The Impact of Protestant Evangelism on Economic Outcomes

78 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2018

See all articles by Gharad Bryan

Gharad Bryan

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics

James J. Choi

Yale School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Dean Karlan

Northwestern University

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 23, 2018

Abstract

To test the causal impact of religiosity, we conducted a randomized evaluation of an evangelical Protestant Christian values and theology education program that consisted of 15 weekly half-hour sessions. We analyzed outcomes for 6,276 ultra-poor Filipino households six months after the program ended. We find significant increases in religiosity and income, no significant changes in total labor supply, assets, consumption, food security, or life satisfaction, and a significant decrease in perceived relative economic status. Exploratory analysis suggests the program may have improved hygienic practices and increased household discord, and that the income treatment effect may operate through increasing grit.

Keywords: religion, economics, poverty

JEL Classification: D12, I30, O12

Suggested Citation

Bryan, Gharad and Choi, James J. and Karlan, Dean, Randomizing Religion: The Impact of Protestant Evangelism on Economic Outcomes (February 23, 2018). Buffett Institute Global Poverty Research Lab Working Paper No. 18-104. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3128904 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3128904

Gharad Bryan

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

James J. Choi

Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Dean Karlan (Contact Author)

Northwestern University

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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