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Church Membership and Social Insurance: Evidence from the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927

Philipp Ager (), Casper Hansen () and Lars Lønstrup ()

No 7/2016, Discussion Papers of Business and Economics from University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics

Abstract: 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 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D70 H40 Z12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 51 pages
Date: 2016-10-28
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-ias
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