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

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  • Cornelissen, Thomas
  • Jirjahn, Uwe

Abstract

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).

Suggested Citation

  • Cornelissen, Thomas & Jirjahn, Uwe, 2012. "Religion and earnings: Is it good to be an atheist with religious parental background?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 905-908.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:117:y:2012:i:3:p:905-908 DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2012.07.013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cornelissen, Thomas & Jirjahn, Uwe, 2012. "September 11th and the earnings of Muslims in Germany—The moderating role of education and firm size," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 490-504.
    2. Lelkes, Orsolya, 2006. "Tasting freedom: Happiness, religion and economic transition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 173-194, February.
    3. 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.
    4. Tomes, Nigel, 1985. "Religion and the Earnings Function," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 245-250, May.
    5. Lipford, Jody W. & Tollison, Robert D., 2003. "Religious participation and income," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 249-260, June.
    6. Benito Arruñada, 2010. "Protestants and Catholics: Similar Work Ethic, Different Social Ethic," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(547), pages 890-918, September.
    7. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 23-48, Spring.
    8. 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.
    9. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno, Bruna & Fiorillo, Damiano, 2013. "Voluntary work and labour income," MPRA Paper 43995, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Bruna BRUNO & Damiano FIORILLO, 2016. "Voluntary Work And Wages," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, pages 175-202.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Parents’ religion; Current religious affiliation; Earnings;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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