God insures those who pay? Formal insurance and religious offerings in Ghana.Journal articleEmmanuelle Auriol, Julie Lassébie, Amma Panin, Eva Raiber et Paul Seabright, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Volume 135, Issue 4, pp. 1799-1848, 2020

This paper provides experimental support for the hypothesis that insurance can be a motive for religious donations. We randomize enrollment of members of a Pentecostal church in Ghana into a commercial funeral insurance policy. Then 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 church compared to members that only receive information about the insurance. Enrollment also reduces giving towards other spiritual goods. We set up a model exploring different channels of religiously based insurance.
The implications of the model and the results from 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 material insurance from the church community is also important and we hypothesize that these two insurance channels exist in parallel.

US churches' response to Covid-19: Results from FacebookJournal articleEva Raiber et Paul Seabright, Covid Economics, Volume 61, pp. 121-171, 2020

This study investigates U.S. churches' response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic by looking at their public Facebook posts. For religious organizations, in-person gatherings are at the heart of their activities. Yet religious in-person gatherings have been identified as some of the early hot spots of the pandemic, but there has also been controversy over the legitimacy of public restrictions on such gatherings. Our sample contains information on church characteristics and Facebook posts for nearly 4000 churches that posted at least once in 2020. The share of churches that offer an online church activity on a given Sunday more than doubled within two weeks at the beginning of the pandemic (the first half of March 2020) and stayed well above baseline levels. Online church activities are positively correlated with the local pandemic situation at the beginning, but uncorrelated with most state interventions. After the peak of the first wave (mid April), we observe a slight decrease in online activities. We investigate heterogeneity in the church responses and find that church size and worship style explain differences consistent with churches facing different demand and cost structures. Local political voting behavior, on the other hand, explains little of the variation. Descriptive analysis suggests that overall online activities, and the patterns of heterogeneity, remain unchanged through end-November 2020

Parent–offspring conflict over mate choice: An experimental study in ChinaJournal articleJeanne Bovet, Eva Raiber, Weiwei Ren, Charlotte Wang et Paul Seabright, British Journal of Psychology, Volume 109, Issue 4, pp. 674-693, 2018

Both parents and offspring have evolved mating preferences that enable them to select mates and children-in-law to maximize their inclusive fitness. The theory of parent–offspring conflict predicts that preferences for potential mates may differ between parents and offspring: individuals are expected to value biological quality more in their own mates than in their offspring's mates and to value investment potential more in their offspring's mates than in their own mates. We tested this hypothesis in China using a naturalistic ‘marriage market’ where parents actively search for marital partners for their offspring. Parents gather at a public park to advertise the characteristics of their adult children, looking for a potential son or daughter-in-law. We presented 589 parents and young adults from the city of Kunming (Yunnan, China) with hypothetical mating candidates varying in their levels of income (proxy for investment potential) and physical attractiveness (proxy for biological quality). We found some evidence of a parent–offspring conflict over mate choice, but only in the case of daughters, who evaluated physical attractiveness as more important than parents. We also found an effect of the mating candidate's sex, as physical attractiveness was deemed more valuable in a female potential mate by parents and offspring alike.

Mise en place d’une expérience avec le grand public : entre recherche, vulgarisation et pédagogieJournal articleYouenn Lohéac, Alia Hayyan, Cécile Bazart, Mohamed Ali Bchir, Serge Blondel, Mihaela Bonescu, Alexandrine Bornier, Joëlle Brouard, Nathalie Chappe, François Cochard, et al., Revue economique, Volume 68, Issue 5, pp. 941-953, 2017

Nous présentons la mise en place d’une expérience lors d’un événement grand public national, de manière simultanée dans onze villes françaises, en septembre 2015. L’expérience a impliqué plus de 2 700 participants et a duré quatre heures ininterrompues. L’objectif de cet article est à la fois de fournir une feuille de route pour une éventuelle réplication et de penser à la manière dont la discipline peut être utilisée dans des terrains nouveaux (vulgarisation, pédagogie populaire, communication grand public).