Past Event

Development Workshop: Amma Panin

March 2, 2023
4:10 PM - 5:40 PM
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1101 IAB

As part of Columbia University's Spring 2023 Development Workshop, Amma Panin presented "Using religious participation to insure mental health in Ghana" at the Development Seminar.


Shocks to income—such as illness or crop loss—can significantly reduce welfare. Both the shock itself and its subsequent consequences may negatively impact mental health, exacerbating any reductions in welfare. I use panel data from Ghana to explore how religious participation mitigates the negative effects of income shocks. I show that people with a larger share of expenditure on religious goods are more resilient to shocks: they are less likely to withdraw from the labour force and they feel a smaller loss in subjective welfare. Part of this might be explained by the fact that religious people are also more cognitively resilient. After a shock, they show fewer signs of depression and perform better on cognitive tasks. While religious people have access to larger social networks, they do not necessarily receive more transfers from their network after a shock.