Research Seminar Series on Global Challenges – Jeanet Sinding Bentzen (University of Copenhagen), 29th April 2021 at 12.15 p.m. (CET)

Global Challenges Seminar Series

Jeanet Sinding Bentzen (University of Copenhagen) on “In Crisis, We Pray: Religiosity and the COVID-19 Pandemic“, jointly organised by the Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano, BAFFI CAREFIN and the Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods (University of Milan) in collaboration with the Dipartimento di Economia, Metodi Quantitativi e Strategie di Impresa (Università Milano Bicocca) and the Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale (Politecnico di Milano).
The webinar will be held on Thursday, 29th April 2021 at 12:15 p.m. (CET) via Zoom. Please register by email to


In times of crisis, humans have a tendency to turn to religion for comfort and explanation. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic is no exception.  Using daily data on Google searches for 95 countries, this research demonstrates that the COVID-19 crisis has increased Google searches for prayer (relative to all Google searches) to the highest level ever recorded. More than half of the world population had prayed to end the coronavirus. The rise amounts to 50% of the previous level of prayer searches or a quarter of the fall in Google searches for flights, which dropped dramatically due to the closure of most international air transport. Prayer searches rose at all levels of income, inequality, and insecurity, but not for the 10% least religious countries. The increase is not merely a substitute for services in the physical churches that closed down to limit the spread of the virus. Instead, the rise is due to an intensified demand for religion: we pray to cope with adversity.