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Religion as a Determinant of Economic and Demographic Behavior in the United States

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  • Lehrer, Evelyn L.

    ()
    (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Abstract

This paper critically reviews and synthesizes research on the role of religion on various aspects of the economic and demographic behavior of individuals and families in the United States, including the choice of marital partner, union formation and dissolution, fertility, female time allocation, education, wages, and wealth. Using a theoretical framework based on Gary Becker’s contributions to the economics of the family, religious affiliation is seen to affect these outcomes because it has an impact on the costs and benefits of many interrelated decisions that people make over the life cycle. In addition, for behaviors that pertain to married couple households, affiliation matters because it is a complementary trait within the context of marriage. Religiosity, another dimension of religion, also affects economic and demographic outcomes, partly because it accentuates differences by religious affiliation, partly because of the generally beneficial effects that religious involvement has on health and well-being.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1390.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Population and Development Review, 2004, 30 (4), 707-726
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1390

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Keywords: education; female employment; marriage; demography; religion; fertility;

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  1. Brenner, Reuven & Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1981. "The Economics of the Diaspora: Discrimination and Occupational Structure," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 517-34, April.
  2. Richard B. Freeman, 1986. "Who Escapes? The Relation of Churchgoing and Other Background Factors to the Socioeconomic Performance of Black Male Youths from Inner-City Tracts," NBER Chapters, in: The Black Youth Employment Crisis, pages 353-376 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lehrer, Evelyn L, 1996. "Religion as a Determinant of Marital Fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 173-96, May.
  4. William Mosher & David Johnson & Marjorie Horn, 1986. "Religion and fertility in the United States: The importance of marriage patterns and hispanic origin," Demography, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 367-379, August.
  5. Linda J. Waite & Evelyn L. Lehrer, 2003. "The Benefits from Marriage and Religion in the United States: A Comparative Analysis," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 29(2), pages 255-275.
  6. Kevin McQuillan, 2004. "When Does Religion Influence Fertility?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(1), pages 25-56.
  7. William Mosher & Gerry Hendershot, 1984. "Religion and fertility: A replication," Demography, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 185-191, May.
  8. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
  9. Chiswick, Barry R, 1986. "Labor Supply and Investment in Child Quality: A Study of Jewish and Non-Jewish Women," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 700-703, November.
  10. Evelyn Lehrer & Carmel Chiswick, 1993. "Religion as a determinant of marital stability," Demography, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 385-404, August.
  11. William Sander, 1993. "Catholicism and marriage in the united states," Demography, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 373-384, August.
  12. Richard B. Freeman, 1985. "Who Escapes? The Relation of Church-Going & Other Background Factors to the Socio-Economic Performance of Blk. Male Yths. from Inner-City Pvrty Tracts," NBER Working Papers 1656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Ayal, Eliezer B & Chiswick, Barry R, 1983. "The Economics of the Diaspora Revisited," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(4), pages 861-75, July.
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