Facing misfortune: Expenditures on magico-religious powers for cure and protection in Benin

P. LeMay-Boucher, J. Noret, V. Somville

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Drawing on data we collected in Cotonou (southern Benin), we highlight the importance of magico-religious expenditures within Beninese households. We focus on magico-religious powers used to cure and protect one-self or relatives against negative health shocks and other misfortunes. Our questionnaire elicits information on expenditures on magico-religious diagnosis, prevention and treatment in the 12 months prior to our survey. Far from being anecdotal, our data show that out of the 178 households in our sample, 48% have declared some magico-religious expenditures. For these household heads, these expenditures represented on average 5.6% of all expenditures. Using an econometric analysis, we test several conjectures that can be found in the relevant literature as to what variables drive magico-religious expenditures. We find that the main determinants are economic success and tensions within the family and that economically successful agents resort to magico-religious expenditures as a substitute for transfers to acquaintances and relatives in dealing with redistributive pressures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)300
    Number of pages322
    JournalJournal of African Economies
    Volume22
    Issue number2
    Early online date15 Nov 2012
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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    abstract = "Drawing on data we collected in Cotonou (southern Benin), we highlight the importance of magico-religious expenditures within Beninese households. We focus on magico-religious powers used to cure and protect one-self or relatives against negative health shocks and other misfortunes. Our questionnaire elicits information on expenditures on magico-religious diagnosis, prevention and treatment in the 12 months prior to our survey. Far from being anecdotal, our data show that out of the 178 households in our sample, 48{\%} have declared some magico-religious expenditures. For these household heads, these expenditures represented on average 5.6{\%} of all expenditures. Using an econometric analysis, we test several conjectures that can be found in the relevant literature as to what variables drive magico-religious expenditures. We find that the main determinants are economic success and tensions within the family and that economically successful agents resort to magico-religious expenditures as a substitute for transfers to acquaintances and relatives in dealing with redistributive pressures.",
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    Facing misfortune: Expenditures on magico-religious powers for cure and protection in Benin. / LeMay-Boucher, P.; Noret, J.; Somville, V.

    In: Journal of African Economies, Vol. 22, No. 2, 2013, p. 300.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Facing misfortune: Expenditures on magico-religious powers for cure and protection in Benin

    AU - LeMay-Boucher, P.

    AU - Noret, J.

    AU - Somville, V.

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    AB - Drawing on data we collected in Cotonou (southern Benin), we highlight the importance of magico-religious expenditures within Beninese households. We focus on magico-religious powers used to cure and protect one-self or relatives against negative health shocks and other misfortunes. Our questionnaire elicits information on expenditures on magico-religious diagnosis, prevention and treatment in the 12 months prior to our survey. Far from being anecdotal, our data show that out of the 178 households in our sample, 48% have declared some magico-religious expenditures. For these household heads, these expenditures represented on average 5.6% of all expenditures. Using an econometric analysis, we test several conjectures that can be found in the relevant literature as to what variables drive magico-religious expenditures. We find that the main determinants are economic success and tensions within the family and that economically successful agents resort to magico-religious expenditures as a substitute for transfers to acquaintances and relatives in dealing with redistributive pressures.

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