Origins of Religiousness: The Role of Natural Disasters
Across 800 regions of the World, this research shows that people are more religious when living in regions that are more frequently razed by
This is in line with psychological theory stressing that religious people tend to cope with adverse life events by seeking comfort in their religion
or searching for a reason for the event; for instance that the event was an act of God. This is termed religious coping. Natural disasters are a
source for adverse life events, and thus one way to interpret this research's findings is by way of religious coping. The results are robust to
various measures of religiousness, and to inclusion of country fixed effects, income, education, demographics, religious denominations, and
other climatic and geographic features. The results hold within Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, and across continents.
To eliminate bias from omitted variables and selection (perhaps religious people are less likely to move out of disaster areas as they see the
disaster as an act of God), I further show that second generation immigrants whose mothers descend from natural disaster areas, are more
religious than their counterparts with ancestors from calmer areas.
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