The Receipts and Benevolences of Presbyterian Congregations, 1973-1988

Krohn, Gregory A. "The Receipts and Benevolences of Presbyterian Congregations, 1973-1988." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 34 (March 1995): 17-34.

Benevolences, defined as the sum of congregations' payments to all levels of denominational infrastructure and other nonlocal missions, have declined as a percentage of receipts in many Protestant denominations over the past three decades. To explain the decline, Krohn developed an economic model of religious congregations and ran a version of it with data from a national sample of 40 Presbyterian congregations from 1973 to 1988. The author finds that per capita county income, membership size, capital expenditures per member, and the poverty rate are statistically significant determinants of per capita receipts and benevolences, although membership size and the poverty rate explain little of the decline in the ratio of benevolences to receipts. Krohn also concludes that clergy salaries, the relative prices of energy and medical insurance, government transfer payments, and the income tax rate appear unrelated to congregational receipts and benevolences. (MC)