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Religion and earnings: Is it good to be an atheist with religious parental background?

  • Cornelissen, Thomas
  • Jirjahn, Uwe

Using German employee data, we find that being raised by two religious parents and having no current religious affiliation is associated with higher earnings. This conforms to the hypothesis that people who are raised religiously and reject religion as adults are economically more successful as they combine a strong internalized work ethic with an increased interest in present consumption (as opposed to afterlife consumption).

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics Letters.

Volume (Year): 117 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 905-908

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:117:y:2012:i:3:p:905-908
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  1. Bettendorf, L. & Dijkgraaf, E., 2010. "Religion and income: Heterogeneity between countries," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(1-2), pages 12-29, May.
  2. Nigel Tomes, 1984. "The Effects of Religion and Denomination on Earnings and the Returns to Human Capital," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(4), pages 472-488.
  3. Thomas Cornelissen & Uwe Jirjahn, 2010. "September 11th and the Earnings of Muslims in Germany - The Moderating Role of Education and Firm Size," Research Papers in Economics 2010-02, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
  4. Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales & Luigi Guiso, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 11999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Benito Arruñada, 2010. "Protestants and Catholics: Similar Work Ethic, Different Social Ethic," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(547), pages 890-918, 09.
  6. Lipford, Jody W. & Tollison, Robert D., 2003. "Religious participation and income," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 249-260, June.
  7. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
  8. Todd P. Steen, 2004. "The relationship between religion and earnings: recent evidence from the NLS Youth Cohort," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(5/6), pages 572-581, May.
  9. Orsolya Lelkes, 2002. "Tasting Freedom: Happiness, religion and economic transition," CASE Papers case59, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  10. Tomes, Nigel, 1985. "Religion and the Earnings Function," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 245-50, May.
  11. 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.
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