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Religious Pluralism, Religious Market Shares and the Demand for Religious Schooling

Author

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  • Danny Cohen-Zada

    () (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel)

  • Todd Elder

    (Michigan State University, USA)

Abstract

We develop a model of school choice in which the demand for religious schooling is driven partly by the desire of parents to limit their children’s exposure to the influences of competing religions. This framework links the literature on the effects of religious market shares on the within-denomination intensity of religious activity with a separate literature relating religious pluralism to the overall level of religious participation. The model predicts that when a religious group’s share of the local population grows, the fraction of that group’s members whose children attend religious schools decreases. In addition, it implies that the overall demand for religious schooling is a positive function of both the local religiosity level and the level of religious pluralism, as measured by a Herfindahl Index. Using both U.S. county-level data and individual data from ECLS-K and NELS:88, we find evidence strongly consistent with the model’s predictions. Our findings also illustrate that failing to control for the local religiosity level in estimating the effect of religious pluralism on religious participation, as is common in previous studies, may lead a researcher to erroneously conclude that pluralism has a negative effect on participation.

Suggested Citation

  • Danny Cohen-Zada & Todd Elder, 2012. "Religious Pluralism, Religious Market Shares and the Demand for Religious Schooling," Working Papers 1201, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bgu:wpaper:1201
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Religious pluralism and religious participation
      by nawmsayn in ZeeConomics on 2014-10-25 22:21:18

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religious participation; school choice; religious pluralism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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