IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v178y2020icp903-924.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Identifying the causal effect of income on religiosity using the Earned Income Tax Credit

Author

Listed:
  • Silveus, Neil
  • Stoddard, Christiana

Abstract

How do economic conditions – income and the generosity of social insurance–affect religious behavior? This paper provides novel evidence for the United States using variation in Earned Income Tax Credit benefits across states, over time, and by number of children. In the raw data, income and religiosity have a trivial relationship. In contrast, the instrumental variables strategy shows that increases in income from the EITC are found to sizably reduce religious attendance among low-income individuals. Among individuals who attend, the results indicate that an additional $1000 in annual income is associated with a decrease of roughly 1 service per year (as compared to an average of 16 services per year). The effect arises mainly along the intensive margin, decreasing devout behavior and increasing more marginal attendance, but having little impact on whether an individual participates at all or on beliefs. There are also minimal effects on the occurrence and amount of contributions to religious organizations. The results extend our understanding of the determinants of religiosity, the relationship between governmental income support and religious behavior, and the social effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Suggested Citation

  • Silveus, Neil & Stoddard, Christiana, 2020. "Identifying the causal effect of income on religiosity using the Earned Income Tax Credit," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 903-924.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:178:y:2020:i:c:p:903-924
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2020.08.022
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268120302924
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jebo.2020.08.022?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gruber, Jonathan, 2004. "Pay or pray? The impact of charitable subsidies on religious attendance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2635-2655, December.
    2. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2012. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1927-1956, August.
    3. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Social Networks and Labor-Market Outcomes: Toward an Economic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1407-1418, December.
    4. Jane Cooley Fruehwirth & Sriya Iyer & Anwen Zhang, 2019. "Religion and Depression in Adolescence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1178-1209.
    5. Hungerman, Daniel M., 2005. "Are church and state substitutes? Evidence from the 1996 welfare reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2245-2267, December.
    6. Jonathan Gruber & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2008. "The Church Versus the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 831-862.
    7. Hungerman, Daniel M., 2014. "The effect of education on religion: Evidence from compulsory schooling laws," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 52-63.
    8. Richard Crump & Gopi Shah Goda & Kevin J. Mumford, 2011. "Fertility and the Personal Exemption: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1616-1628, June.
    9. Janet Currie, 2004. "The Take Up of Social Benefits," NBER Working Papers 10488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Costa, Francisco Junqueira Moreira da & Marcantonio Junior, Angelo & Castro, Rudi Rocha de, 2018. "Stop suffering! Economic downturns and pentecostal upsurge," FGV EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 804, EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil).
    11. Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Pay or Pray? The Impact of Charitable Subsidies on Religious Attendance," NBER Working Papers 10374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Robert Hummer & Richard Rogers & Charles Nam & Christopher Ellison, 1999. "Religious involvement and U.S. adult mortality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 36(2), pages 273-285, May.
    13. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 2017. "Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(1 (Spring), pages 397-476.
    14. Mitchell A. Petersen, 2009. "Estimating Standard Errors in Finance Panel Data Sets: Comparing Approaches," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(1), pages 435-480, January.
    15. Daniel M. Hungerman, 2014. "Do Religious Proscriptions Matter?: Evidence from a Theory-Based Test," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(4), pages 1053-1093.
    16. 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.
    17. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1992. "Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-Riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-291, April.
    18. Lipford, Jody W. & Tollison, Robert D., 2003. "Religious participation and income," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 249-260, June.
    19. Thomas Buser, 2015. "The Effect of Income on Religiousness," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 178-195, July.
    20. Michael R. Ransom & Gordon B. Dahl, 1999. "Does Where You Stand Depend on Where You Sit? Tithing Donations and Self-Serving Beliefs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 703-727, September.
    21. Dehejia, Rajeev & DeLeire, Thomas & Luttmer, Erzo F.P., 2007. "Insuring consumption and happiness through religious organizations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 259-279, February.
    22. Gruber, Jonathan & Hungerman, Daniel M., 2007. "Faith-based charity and crowd-out during the great depression," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1043-1069, June.
    23. Henrik Kleven, 2019. "The EITC and the Extensive Margin: A Reappraisal," NBER Working Papers 26405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. 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.
    25. Donald S. Kenkel & Maximilian D. Schmeiser & Carly Urban, 2014. "Is Smoking Inferior?: Evidence from Variation in the Earned Income Tax Credit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(4), pages 1094-1120.
    26. Robert Barro & Rachel M. McCleary, 2003. "International Determinants of Religiosity," NBER Working Papers 10147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 2004. "Taxes and the labor market participation of married couples: the earned income tax credit," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1931-1958, August.
    28. Ager, Philipp & Hansen, Casper Worm & Lønstrup, Lars, 2016. "Church Membership and Social Insurance: Evidence from the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927," Discussion Papers on Economics 7/2016, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Economics.
    29. Reagan Baughman & Stacy Dickert-Conlin, 2009. "The earned income tax credit and fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(3), pages 537-563, July.
    30. Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren & Patrick Kline & Emmanuel Saez, 2014. "Where is the land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(4), pages 1553-1623.
    31. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
    32. A. Colin Cameron & Douglas L. Miller, 2015. "A Practitioner’s Guide to Cluster-Robust Inference," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 317-372.
    33. repec:hrv:faseco:30750027 is not listed on IDEAS
    34. Jacob Bastian & Katherine Michelmore, 2018. "The Long-Term Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Children’s Education and Employment Outcomes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(4), pages 1127-1163.
    35. 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.
    36. V. Joseph Hotz & John Karl Scholz, 2006. "Examining the Effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit on the Labor Market Participation of Families on Welfare," NBER Working Papers 11968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    37. 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.
    38. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
    39. Daniel L. Chen, 2010. "Club Goods and Group Identity: Evidence from Islamic Resurgence during the Indonesian Financial Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(2), pages 300-354, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Lin, Tse-Chun & Pursiainen, Vesa, 2022. "Regional social capital and moral hazard in crowdfunding," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 37(4).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Sriya Iyer, 2016. "The New Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(2), pages 395-441, June.
    2. Dehejia, Rajeev & DeLeire, Thomas & Luttmer, Erzo F.P., 2007. "Insuring consumption and happiness through religious organizations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 259-279, February.
    3. Philipp Ager & Antonio Ciccone, 2013. "Rainfall Risk and Religious Membership in the Late Nineteenth-Century US," Working Papers 2013-17, FEDEA.
    4. Liang, Yinhe & Dong, Zhiyong, 2019. "Has education led to secularization? Based on the study of compulsory education law in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 324-336.
    5. Philipp Ager & Antonio Ciccone, 2018. "Agricultural Risk and the Spread of Religious Communities," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 1021-1068.
    6. Spenkuch, Jörg L., 2017. "Religion and work: Micro evidence from contemporary Germany," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 193-214.
    7. Teemu Lyytikäinen & Torsten Santavirta, 2013. "The effect of church tax on church membership," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 1175-1193, July.
    8. Hanson, Gordon H. & Xiang, Chong, 2013. "Exporting Christianity: Governance and doctrine in the globalization of US denominations," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 301-320.
    9. Cesur, Resul & Freidman, Travis & Sabia, Joseph J., 2020. "War, traumatic health shocks, and religiosity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 475-502.
    10. Basedau, Matthias & Gobien, Simone & Prediger, Sebastian, 2017. "The Ambivalent Role of Religion for Sustainable Development: A Review of the Empirical Evidence," GIGA Working Papers 297, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    11. Bentzen, Jeanet & Sperling, Lena, 2020. "God Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 14380, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. S. Brock Blomberg & Thomas DeLeire & Gregory D. Hess, 2006. "The (After) Life-Cycle Theory of Religious Contributions," CESifo Working Paper Series 1854, CESifo.
    13. Mendolia, Silvia & Paloyo, Alfredo R. & Walker, Ian, 2018. "The Effect of Religiosity on Adolescent Risky Behaviors," IZA Discussion Papers 11566, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Matthias Basedau & Simone Gobien & Sebastian Prediger, 2018. "The Multidimensional Effects Of Religion On Socioeconomic Development: A Review Of The Empirical Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(4), pages 1106-1133, September.
    15. Daniel M. Hungerman, 2011. "Substitution and Stigma: Evidence on Religious Competition from the Catholic Sex-Abuse Scandal," NBER Working Papers 17589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Olga Popova, 2016. "Suffer for the Faith? Parental Religiosity and Children’s Health," Working Papers 356, Leibniz Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies).
    17. Raphaël Franck & Laurence Iannaccone, 2014. "Religious decline in the 20th century West: testing alternative explanations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(3), pages 385-414, June.
    18. Mocan, Naci & Pogorelova, Luiza, 2017. "Compulsory schooling laws and formation of beliefs: Education, religion and superstition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 509-539.
    19. Brown, Timothy Tyler, 2009. "Rational praying: The economics of prayer," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 37-44, January.
    20. Michael W. Walrath, 2016. "Entry Models Applied to Churches: Could Protestants use a Catholic Bishop to Solve Excess Entry?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 557-588, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religion; Earned Income Tax Credit; EITC; Crowd-out; Safety net;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:178:y:2020:i:c:p:903-924. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.