Working paper

God insures those who pay?Formal insurance and religious offerings in Ghana

Emmanuelle Auriol, Julie Lassebie, Amma Panin, Eva Raiber, and Paul Seabright

Abstract

This paper presents experimental evidence exploring how insurance might be a motive for religious donations by members of a Pentecostal church in Ghana. We ran- domize enrollment into a commercially available funeral insurance policy and let church members allocate money between themselves and a set of religious goods in a series of dictator games with significant stakes. Members enrolled in insurance give significantly less money to their own churches. At the same time, enrollment in insurance reduces giving towards other spiritual goods. We set up a model exploring different channels of religious based insurance. The implications of the model and the results of the dictator games suggest that adherents perceive the church as a source of insurance and that this insurance is derived from beliefs in an interventionist God. Survey results suggest that community-based material insurance is also important and we hypothesize that these two insurance channels exist in parallel.

Keywords

economics of religion; informal insurance; charitable giving;

JEL codes

  • D14: Household Saving; Personal Finance
  • G22: Insurance • Insurance Companies • Actuarial Studies
  • O12: Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
  • O17: Formal and Informal Sectors • Shadow Economy • Institutional Arrangements

Reference

Emmanuelle Auriol, Julie Lassebie, Amma Panin, Eva Raiber, and Paul Seabright, God insures those who pay?Formal insurance and religious offerings in Ghana, TSE Working Paper, n. 17-831, July 2017.

See also

Published in

TSE Working Paper, n. 17-831, July 2017