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

  • Danny Cohen-Zada

    ()

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

  • Todd Elder

    (Michigan State University, USA)

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.

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Paper provided by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1201.

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Length: 41
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bgu:wpaper:1201
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Web page: http://www.bgu.ac.il/econ
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  1. Ran Abramitzky & Liran Einav & Oren Rigbi, 2010. "Is Hanukkah Responsive to Christmas?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(545), pages 612-630, 06.
  2. William Sander, 1997. "Catholic High Schools and Rural Academic Achievement," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(1), pages 1-12.
  3. Alberto Bisin & Giorgio Topa & Thierry Verdier, 2004. "Religious Intermarriage and Socialization in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 615-664, June.
  4. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1996. "Labor Market Effects of School Quality: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 736, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. Rangazas, Peter, 1995. " Vouchers and Voting: An Initial Estimate Based on the Median Voter Model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 82(3-4), pages 261-79, March.
  6. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E., 1996. "Ends against the middle: Determining public service provision when there are private alternatives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 297-325, November.
  7. Christopher Jepsen, 2003. "The Effectiveness of Catholic Primary Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(4).
  8. Sander, William & Krautmann, Anthony C, 1995. "Catholic Schools, Dropout Rates and Educational Attainment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(2), pages 217-33, April.
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