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Is Fertility Related to Religiosity? Evidence from Spain

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  • Brañas-Garza, Pablo

    ()
    (Middlesex University Business School, London)

  • Neuman, Shoshana

    ()
    (Bar-Ilan University)

Abstract

The paper explores the relationship between religiosity and fertility among Catholics in Spain, thereby answering the question whether the two parallel trends of dramatic drops in fertility and in religiosity are inter-related. It looks at current religiosity as well as exposure to religiosity during childhood. A unique, rich, data set is employed. It includes various dimensions of religiosity: respondent’s religious affiliation; if he is Catholic- his current mass attendance (six levels) and his current prayer habits (eleven levels); spouse’s religious affiliation; parental (maternal and paternal) and respondent's mass attendance when the respondent was a child (nine levels); Catholic education during childhood (yes/no). The multi-facet data on religiosity (rather than a single dichotomous variable) facilitates a sophisticated analysis with rigorous conclusions. The sample is restricted to married Catholic (female and male) respondents who were raised by Catholic parents, and are married to a Catholic spouse, in order to have a homogenous sample and to focus on the effect of the level (intensity) of religiosity (rather than religious affiliation) on fertility. Fertility is related to the various dimensions of religiosity- first using cross-tabulation and then using OLS regression. We find that fertility is not related to current intensity of religiosity. Exposure to religious activities during childhood has a significant effect on fertility of women (but not men): interestingly a father who was actively attending mass services has a positive effect on his daughter’s future fertility (increasing the number of kids by about 0.8) while the mother’s active mass participation has a reverse negative effect (leading to a decrease of one kid). Own participation in mass services during childhood has a positive effect on fertility- leading to an increase of 0.6 kids if the girl attended mass services intensively This study indicates the significance of childhood experience in shaping the 'taste for children'. It also suggests that there is no direct link between the fast secularization in Spain and the decline in birth rates.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2192.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2192

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Keywords: Catholic; Spain; parental religiosity; church attendance; prayer; taste for children; fertility; religion;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Thomas Baudin, 2008. "Religion and Fertility : The French Connection," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00348829, HAL.
  3. Ekert-Jaffe, Olivia & Grossbard, Shoshana, 2007. "Does Community Property Discourage Unpartnered Births?," IZA Discussion Papers 2816, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Juan C. Cárdenas & Máximo Rossi, 2009. "Gender, education and reciprocal generosity: Evidence from 1,500 experiment subjects," Working Papers 128, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  5. Lehrer, Evelyn L., 2008. "The Role of Religion in Economic and Demographic Behavior in the United States: A Review of the Recent Literature," IZA Discussion Papers 3541, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & García Muñoz, Teresa & Neuman, Shoshana, 2007. "Unravelling Secularization: An International Study," IZA Discussion Papers 3251, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Berno Buechel & Tim Hellmann & Michael M. Pichler, 2011. "The Dynamics of Continuous Cultural Traits in Social Networks," Working Papers 457, Bielefeld University, Center for Mathematical Economics.
  8. Ronen Bar-El & Teresa García-Muñoz & Shoshana Neuman & Yossef Tobol, 2010. "The Evolution of Secularization: Cultural Transmission, Religion and Fertility Theory, Simulations and Evidence," Working Papers, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics 2010-10, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  9. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00348829 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Caroline Berghammer & Dimiter Philipov, 2007. "Religion and fertility ideals, intentions and behaviour: a comparative study of European countries," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 5(1), pages 271-305.
  11. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2010. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Socialization," NBER Working Papers 16512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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