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Is Hanukkah responsive to Christmas?

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Author Info

  • Ran Abramitzky

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

  • Liran Einav

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

  • Oren Rigbi

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

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    Abstract

    We study the extent to which religious activity responds to the presence and activity of other religions. Specifcally, we employ individual-level survey data and county-level expenditure data to examine the extent to which Hanukkah celebration among U.S. Jews is driven by the presence of Christmas. We find that: (1) Jews with children at home are more likely to celebrate Hanukkah than Jews without children. (2) The effect of having children on Hanukkah celebrations is higher for reform Jews than for orthodox Jews; and, it is higher for Jews who feel a stronger sense of belonging to Judaism. (3) Jewish-related expenditures in Hanukkah are higher in counties with lower share of Jews. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that Jews increase religious activity during Hanukkah because of the presence of Christmas, and this response is primarily driven by the presence of children at home. One underlying motivator might be that Jewish parents in the U.S. celebrate Hanukkah more intensively so heir children do not feel left out, and/or because they are concerned that their children will convert or intermarry.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 07-049.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:07-049

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    Related research

    Keywords: Religions; Hanukkah; Identity;

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    1. Iannaccone, Laurence R & Finke, Roger & Stark, Rodney, 1997. "Deregulating Religion: The Economics of Church and State," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 350-64, April.
    2. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
    3. Jonathan Gruber, 2005. "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?," NBER Working Papers 11377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 上垣, 彰, 2002. "中東欧における年金改革の現状 : Katharina Muller, The Political Economy of Pension Reform in Central-Eastern Europe, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 1999, xiv, 222p の紹介と�," Discussion Paper 49, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    5. Gruber Jonathan H, 2005. "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-32, September.
    6. 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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