Charitable contributions fell in the United States during the recession that begun in 2007/2008. Churches also experienced this decline. When the economy recovered, non-religious charities recovered much faster than churches. Other factors, such as doctrine, changes in religious belief, and societal secularization may influence the decision to donate to churches. This study applies economic choice waves to investigate regional effects and derives a “force of influence” function to account mathematically for the various factors that may influence church giving. The results suggest that there are both regional effects and influence from church and societal factors.
Keywords: Charitable giving, choice model, GIS, regional economics, societal influence