Insuring Consumption and Happiness Through Religious Organizations

Rajeev Dehejia, Thomas DeLeire, and Erzo Luttmer
Journal of Public Economics, Volume 91 (2007), pp. 259-279.

This paper examines whether involvement with religious organizations can help insure consumption and happiness. Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX), we find that households who contribute to a religious organization are better able to insure their consumption against income shocks. Using the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH), we find that individuals who attend religious services are better able to insure their happiness against income shocks. Overall, our results suggest that religious organizations provide insurance though the form of this insurance may differ by race.

Wagner Faculty