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Religious media and the rise of neo-Pentecostalism in Brazil

Grant number: 19/04561-3
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): July 10, 2019
Effective date (End): January 09, 2020
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Economics - Economic Theory
Principal researcher:Raphael Bottura Corbi
Grantee:Raphael Bottura Corbi
Host: Leonardo Almeida Bursztyn
Home Institution: Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade (FEA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Chicago, United States  


Brazil and most of Latin America have undergone an important transformation in the religious market in the last few decades. A substantial decline of the great Catholic majority was accompanied by an increase in the share of the neo-pentecostal protestant population, from 10% in 1990 to nearly 30% in 2010. This research project aims at understanding the role of organized religious media in fostering such dramatic change. By exploring exogenous variation in the quality of the signal of protestant TV and radio networks generated by topography in the line-of-sight between radio transmitters and households, we are able to identify the effect of religious media coverage on affiliations. Our preliminary results indicate that religious media supply may explain up to 50% of the protestant affiliation trend in the period. The effect is stronger in areas with no competition from other radios and there are complementarities with existing temples in the same geographic area. We also seek to investigate whether households exposed to religious media are associated with behavior changes such as voting, entrepreneurship and fertility decisions.

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