Stop suffering! Economic downturns and pentecostal upsurge
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This paper estimates the effects of economic downturns on religious conversion. We exploit the Brazilian trade liberalization to study the effects of local economic shocks on affiliation to Pentecostal Evangelicalism across Brazilian regions between 1991 and 2010. We find that regions more exposed to trade-induced economic downturns experienced an increase in Pentecostal affiliation during the 1990s, accompanied by a decrease in adherents to other Christian denominations. Our estimates show that this conversion persisted over the following decade. We also show that economic downturns are associated with the growth in the vote share of candidates explicitly connected to Pentecostal churches in national elections in both the short and long run.