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

Ager, Philipp ; Ciccone, Antonio

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URL: https://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/36848
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-368488
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2014
The title of a journal, publication series: Working Paper Series
Volume: 14-20
Place of publication: Mannheim
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Law and Economics > Makroökonomie (Ciccone 2013-)
MADOC publication series: Department of Economics > Working Paper Series
Subject: 330 Economics
Keywords (English): Religious community size , agricultural risk , informal insurance
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.

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