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Religious Participation versus Shopping: What Makes People Happier?

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Author Info

  • Cohen-Zada, Danny

    ()
    (Ben Gurion University)

  • Sander, William

    ()
    (DePaul University)

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    Abstract

    In this paper, we first explore how an exogenous increase in the opportunity cost of religious participation affects individuals' religious participation and reported happiness using data from the General Social Survey. The exogenous shift in the cost of religious participation is a result of repealing of so-called blue laws which restrict retail activity on Sundays. We find that repealing blue laws causes a significant decline in the level of religious participation of white women and in their happiness. We do not observe any significant decline in reported happiness of other groups whose religious participation was not significantly affected by repeal. We also use repeal as an instrumental variable (IV) for church attendance and provide direct evidence that church attendance has a significant positive effect on happiness, especially for women.

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    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp5198.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5198.

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    Length: 55 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2010
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published in: Journal of Law and Economics, 2011, 54 (4), 889-906
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5198

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    Related research

    Keywords: blue laws; religious participation; happiness;

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    References

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    1. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew Oswald, 2007. "Is Well-being U-Shaped over the Life Cycle?," NBER Working Papers 12935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jonathan Gruber & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2008. "The Church versus the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 831-862, 05.
    3. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 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.
    5. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    6. Oswald, Andrew, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 478, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    7. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2009. "Estimating the Causal Effects of Income on Happiness," Discussion Papers 09/02, Department of Economics, University of York.
    8. 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.
    9. Dara N. Lee, 2011. "The Impact of Repealing Sunday Closing Laws on Educational Attainment," Working Papers 1117, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
    10. Alan Gerber & Jonathan Gruber & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2008. "Does Church Attendance Cause People to Vote? Using Blue Laws' Repeal to Estimate the Effect of Religiosity on Voter Turnout," NBER Working Papers 14303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Freedom, rationality & religion
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2010-10-11 14:25:51
    2. Diversifying mental states
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-02-02 13:39:27
    3. Some benefits of religion
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-02-10 13:54:16

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