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Rainfall Risk and Religious Membership in the Late Nineteenth-Century United States

Philipp Ager () and Antonio Ciccone

No 10079, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: Building on the idea that religious communities provide mutual insurance against some idiosyncratic risks, we argue that religious membership is more valuable in societies exposed to greater common risk. In our empirical analysis we exploit rainfall risk as a source of common economic risk in the nineteenth-century United States and show that religious communities were larger in counties where they faced greater rainfall risk. The link between rainfall risk and the size of religious communities is stronger in counties that were more agricultural, that had lower population densities, or that were exposed to greater rainfall risk during the growing season.

Keywords: agricultural risk; informal insurance; religious community size (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D1 D8 N31 N51 O1 Q10 Z12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-his and nep-ias
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Related works:
Working Paper: Agricultural risk and the spread of religious communities (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Rainfall Risk and Religious Membership in the Late Nineteenth-Century United States (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Rainfall Risk and Religious Membership in the Late Nineteenth-Century US (2013) Downloads
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