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Intergenerational Transmission of 'Religious Capital': Evidence from Spain

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  • Pablo Brañas-Garza

    ()
    (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada)

  • Shoshana Neuman

    (Department of Economics, Bar-Ilan University)

Abstract

The paper examines intergenerational transmission of 'religious capital' from parents to their offspring, within an economic framework of a production function of 'religiosity' where parental inputs serve as factors of production. The database used for the empirical analysis is based on a unique, rich, large-scale survey (2488 interviews) that has been conducted in 1998 in all 47 Spanish provinces. In addition to information on the religious affiliation of the respondent and his parents It has detailed data on two dimensions of the individual's religiosity: mass attendance (a public religious activity with utilitarian/social motives-has six alternative levels); and prayer (an intimate/private religious activity with pure religious motives-11 levels).It also includes information on the mother's and father's church attendance when the respondent was a child (nine levels) as well as the respondent's mass participation at the age of 12. Socio-economic background data are also available. While most empirical studies are employing one dichotomous variable to measure religiosity (e.g. goes to church-yes/no; practicing Catholic- yes/no), our data base provides much more details on religious activities of respondents and their parents, thus facilitating a more sophisticated analysis with more robust conclusions. The inputs of the parents are proxied by the mother's and father's intensity of church attendance when the respondent was a child. The output (respondent's religiosity) is measured using detailed data on the two aspects of the individual's religiosity: mass attendance and prayer. Socio-economic background variables, that might affect religiosity, are also considered. A theoretical framework is followed by stylized facts on the household composition (in terms of religious affiliation and level of religiosity of the mother and father). Then the effect of the parents' input on respondent's religiosity is examined - first using cross-tabulation and then using regression analysis that facilitates the estimation of the various net effects and their interactions. All in all we find that parental religious inputs significantly affect individuals' religiosity. The route of intergenerational transmission is from both parents to children. However, for women the more pronounced route is the mother, while for men- transmission is flowing mainly through the father. An exception is prayer habits of men that are affected more significantly by the mother's input. We do not find substitution or complimentarity between the impacts of inputs of the mother and the father. This study contributes to our understanding of religious behaviour in Spain and is responding to the growing interest in religiosity in the European Union, as expressed by the outlines of the seventh framework research agenda.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada. in its series Papers on Economics of Religion with number 06/02.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 07 Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gra:paoner:06/02

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Keywords: religious capital; catholic; church-attendance; prayer; intergenerational transmission; production; Spain;

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References

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  1. Evelyn Lehrer, 1996. "Religion as a determinant of marital fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 173-196, June.
  2. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1997. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," DELTA Working Papers 97-03, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  3. Grossbard-Shechtman, Amyra & Neuman, Shoshana, 1986. "Economic behavior, marriage and religiosity," Journal of Behavioral Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-2), pages 71-85.
  4. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1999. "Beyond the Melting Pot: Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," Papers 1999-10, Laval - Laboratoire Econometrie.
  5. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  6. Garza, Pablo Brañas & Neuman, Shoshana, 2003. "Analyzing Religiosity Within an Economic Framework: The Case of Spanish Catholics," IZA Discussion Papers 868, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Long, Stephen H & Settle, Russell F, 1977. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance: Some Additional Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(2), pages 409-13, April.
  8. 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.
  9. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Bar-El, Ronen & García Muñoz, Teresa & Neuman, Shoshana & Tobol, Yossi, 2010. "The Evolution of Secularization: Cultural Transmission, Religion and Fertility Theory, Simulations and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 4980, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Neuman, Shoshana, 2006. "Is Fertility Related to Religiosity? Evidence from Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 2192, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Máximo Rossi & Dayna Zaclicever, 2006. "Individual’s religiosity enhances trust: Latin American evidence for the puzzle," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0506, Department of Economics - dECON.
  4. Brañas Garza, Pablo & Espinosa Alejos, María Paz & Giritligil, Ayca E., 2013. "Democratic Values Transmission," DFAEII Working Papers DFAEII;2013-02, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
  5. Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2011. "Social Networks and Parental Behavior in the Intergenerational Transmission of Religion," CEPR Discussion Papers 8443, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Sergej Flere, 2012. "Religious Capital and Religious Rewards: A Study in the Economics of Religious Life," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 59(1), pages 117-127, March.

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