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Church Membership and Social Insurance: Evidence from the American South

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

No 14-29, Discussion Papers from University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics

Abstract: We examine the effect of increased demand for social insurance on church membership.Our empirical strategy exploits the differential impact of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 across counties to identify a shock to the demand for social insurance. We find that flooded counties experienced a significant increase in church membership. Consistent with economic theories about determinants of membership of religious organizations, our result suggests that local churches provided ex-post insurance for the needy and in return gained new members.

Keywords: Religion; Informal Insurance; Club Goods; Natural Disasters (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D70 E20 H40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 36 pages
Date: 2014-11-24
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-ias and nep-soc
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