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Turning to God in Tough Times? Human Versus Material Losses from Climate Disasters in Canada

Oscar Zapata ()

Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, 2018, vol. 2, issue 3, 259-281

Abstract: Abstract Formal and informal insurance mechanisms help people recover from material losses associated with climate disasters. However, people may also find other ways to cope with human losses caused by disasters and research has suggested that religion may provide psychological relief to individuals experiencing adversity. Here, I test whether climate disasters have a causal effect on religious preferences and the intensity of these preferences across provinces in Canada. I look at the differentiated effect of material and human losses on religiosity. I create a dataset with socioeconomic and demographic information of individuals, including their religious preferences, and information on climate disasters at the provincial level in Canada for the period 1992–2012 and use an instrumental variable approach to deal with omitted variables. The novel finding of this paper is that the frequency of disasters and their impacts have different effects on religious preferences: 1) the number and the economic costs of disasters erode religion preferences, and 2) among religious individuals, human losses increase the intensity of their religious preferences. I also find that disasters at the country-wide level influence religious preferences at the local level.

Keywords: Climate disasters; Religious preferences; Material and human losses; IV estimation; Canada (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q54 Z12 D12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:spr:ediscc:v:2:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s41885-018-0029-2