Discussion Papers

No.859 Rainy Friday: Religious Participation and Protests

by Kyosuke KIKUTA

August 2022


What are the effects of religious participation on collective action such as protests? Until recently, conflict scholars have focused on macro-level characteristics of religion, while assuming, but rarely analyzing, individual-level mechanisms. I fill the gap by incorporating the insights from the literature of American Politics, which has long emphasized the roles of individual-level mechanisms such as attendance at religious gatherings. Borrowing from those insights, I argue that attendance at religious gatherings can address collective action problems and thus lead to protests. I test the hypotheses by exploiting an exogenous variation in the attendance at Islamic religious gatherings: rainfall on the day of Friday Prayer. I apply the design both to macro-level event data and an individual-level survey. The analyses indicate that rainy Fridays decrease the frequency of Muslim religious attendance and lower the likelihood of Muslim protests in Africa. These results imply a core role of communal gatherings in religious mobilization.

Keywords: Religion, Protest, Islam, Rainfall

JEL classification: D71, D74, Z12

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