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Sect, Subsidy, And Sacrifice: An Economist'S View Of Ultra-Orthodox Jews

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  • Eli Berman

Abstract

Israeli Ultra-Orthodox men study full-time in yeshiva until age 40 on average. Why do fathers with families in poverty choose yeshiva over work? Draft deferments subsidize yeshiva attendance, yet attendance typically continues long after exemption. Fertility rates are high (TFR = 7.6) and rising. A social interaction approach explains these anomalies. Yeshiva attendance signals commitment to the community, which provides mutual insurance to members. Prohibitions strengthen communities by effectively taxing real wages, inducing high fertility. Historically, the incursion of markets into traditional communities produces Ultra-Orthodoxy. Subsidies induce dramatic reductions in labor supply and unparalleled increases in fertility, illustrating extreme responses social groups may have to interventions. © 2000 the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 115 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 905-953

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:3:p:905-953

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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  1. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
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  7. Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
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