FAITH & ECONOMICS
NUMBER 68, FALL 2016
Municipal Spending and Religious Preferences
Kevin M. O’Brien
Abstract: This paper investigates the question of whether religious affiliation is related to municipal spending, revenue, taxes, property taxes, debt, employment, and spending on several specific municipal services: education, roads, police, health, and welfare. It is found that the proportion of religious adherents was negatively associated with property taxes and spending on education and welfare. When divided into religious groups, an increase in the proportion of Protestants was negatively associated with property taxes and education and welfare spending but positively associated with debt. The proportion of Catholics was positively associated with taxes and spending on roads. The proportion of Orthodox Christians was positively associated with education and police spending. When the Protestant group was subdivided, the proportion of evangelicals was negatively associated with property taxes, spending on education, roads, and welfare but positively associated with debt. The proportion of black Protestants was negatively associated with health spending, while the proportion of mainline Protestants was positively associated with welfare spending. Generally, the results for the proportion of Protestants as a whole were similar to the results for evangelicals when Protestants were divided into groups.
JEL Codes: H7, N32