Bruno Kawaoka Komatsu
Doctorate – Essays on the Expansion of Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Brazil
Advisor: Prof. Dr. Raphael Bottura Corbi
Comission: Profs. Drs. Rudi Rocha de Castro, Lucas Martins Novaes and Ricardo de Abreu Madeira
Class: 217, FEA-5
The growth of Pentecostalism in the world is one of the major religious changes of the 20th Century and Latin America plays an important role in this expansion. In that region, there has been an accelerated reduction in the proportion of Catholics and a Protestant growth in the last decades, with strong participation of Pentecostal churches. Brazilian Pentecostals differ from Catholics in various dimensions regarding their attitudes and views of the world, being generally more religiously observant and more conservative on social issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, artificial contraceptive methods, sex outside marriage, divorce and alcohol consumption; they are also more likely to believe that religious leaders should have influence in politics. In this thesis, we contribute to the understanding of the Pentecostal expansion in Brazil focusing on one of the largest Pentecostal denominations, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG). We have examined the impact of two major strategies of expansion of the UCKG, covering a branch still little explored in the economic literature on religion and trying to understand how each of them contributed to the expansion of this church since its foundation, in two studies. In the first study, we examined the impacts of the radio and television networks linked to UCKG (Aleluia Network and Record TV) on its affiliations, exploring a possibly exogenous variation in the signal quality of those networks due to geographical accidents between the transmitting antennas and the receiving areas. With data from Anatel and technical models of signal density, we analyzed the effects of media coverage on the weighting areas of the 2010 Demographic Census (IBGE). Our benchmark results show that Aleluia Network has an impact of about 13% of the average number of affiliations on the countryside (outside state capitals and Metropolitan Regions), while Record TV has an overall impact of 26%. These effects are stronger for groups who are described in the literature as more likely to attend church. The robustness of the results is verified with placebo test with a non-religious radio network. We find evidence that competition among media vehicles can play a significant role in the effects of religious media and evidence of complementarity between temples and religious media in rural areas. In addition, we find a positive effect of Aleluia Network on entrepreneurship, a negative impact of religious media on fertility, which is consistent with UCKG’s position on abortion and the use of contraceptive methods, and a positive impact on the vote share of the Brazilian Republican Party, with which UCKG has a strong connection. In the second study, we estimated the effect of the presence of UCKG temples on affiliations. We explored the difference in time of entry and in the years of residence of UCKG temples in Brazilian municipalities between 1991 and 2010, with a specification of differences-in-differences on CNPJ (Federal Revenue Office) and Demographic Censuses (IBGE) data. The presence of temples of UCKG increases the adepts of this denomination by 15%, compared to the average of the sample, and these effects due to the countryside. Our results also show that it takes a few years for the UCKG temples to start having a positive impact after their entry. We tested the robustness of our results using data from another source, the Annual Social Information Report, and with a falsification test at the time of UCKG’s entry into the municipality.
*Abstract provided by the author