The Tragedy of Contemporary Gospel Music

35 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2014 Last revised: 6 Jul 2021

Date Written: February 21, 2014


Afrodescendants’ position at the lower-end of a broad range of economic metrics in the US was reinforced during the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Social groups in such a position are expected to use all available resources to improve their plight — including religion. A key component of the Afrodescendant religious tradition (in and outside of religious liturgies) is Gospel Music. No question about it, Gospel Music has been used historically as a motive force for improving conditions for Afrodescendants. Did Afrodescendants use Gospel Music to improve their economic condition in response to the Great Recession? More broadly, what are the discernable effects of contemporary Gospel Music? The Tragedy of Contemporary Gospel Music reflects findings from musical, content, and Probit regression analyses of contemporary Gospel Music. We find that, while economic concerns are strongly present in the Gospel Music exchange, the medium is not widely used to motivate improved economic outcomes for Afrodescendants.

Keywords: Music, Afrodescendants, Black Americans, Economic Outcomes, Great Recession

JEL Classification: Z120, J150, O150

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Brooks B., The Tragedy of Contemporary Gospel Music (February 21, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Brooks B. Robinson (Contact Author)


P.O. Box 8848
Honolulu, HI 96830-8848
United States


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