Expenditures on Malevolent Magico-Religious Powers: Empirical Evidence from Benin

Alison Lang, Philippe LeMay-Boucher, Charlemagne Codjo Tomavo

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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This study investigates household expenditures on magico-religious powers in Southern Benin, with a novel focus on malevolent powers. Of 126 households, 18 percent reported expenditures on malevolent powers within the previous thirteen years. Investment in such powers for malevolent purposes was found to be significantly less frequent than for cure or protection. In line with existing literature, the following factors were found to be positively correlated with investment in malevolent powers: (1) living with a partner; (2) jealousy of economic success; (3) conflict within a social circle. Expenditures on powers for cure and protection are positively correlated with expenditures on malevolent uses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAfrican Studies Review
Early online date25 Mar 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Mar 2019


  • Benin
  • West Africa
  • empirical analysis
  • household expenditures
  • magico-religious powers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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