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Religious Pluralism and the Transmission of Religious Values through Education

Listed author(s):
  • Cohen-Zada, Danny

    ()

    (Ben Gurion University)

  • Elder, Todd E.

    ()

    (Michigan State University)

Registered author(s):

    We analyze the role of formal religious education in the intergenerational transmission of religious values. We first 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. 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 declines. In addition, it shows that if the motivation to preserve religious identity is sufficiently strong, the fraction of all children that attend a given denomination's school is an inverse u-shaped function of the denomination's market share. Finally, the model implies that the overall demand for religious schooling is an increasing function of both the local religiosity rate 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 all of the model's predictions. Our findings also illustrate that failing to control for the local religiosity rate, as is common in previous studies, may lead a researcher to erroneously conclude that religious pluralism has a negative effect on participation.

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    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10569.

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    Length: 64 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2017
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10569
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    1. MacKinnon, James G & Magee, Lonnie, 1990. "Transforming the Dependent Variable in Regression Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(2), pages 315-339, May.
    2. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    3. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
    4. Lehrer, Evelyn L., 2008. "The Role of Religion in Economic and Demographic Behavior in the United States: A Review of the Recent Literature," IZA Discussion Papers 3541, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Ronen Bar-El & Teresa García-Muñoz & Shoshana Neuman & Yossef Tobol, 2013. "The evolution of secularization: cultural transmission, religion and fertility—theory, simulations and evidence," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 1129-1174, July.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Maria Marta Ferreyra, 2007. "Estimating the Effects of Private School Vouchers in Multidistrict Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 789-817, June.
    9. 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.
    10. Stella Koutroumanes Hofrenning & Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "A Method for Proxying a Respondent's Religious Background: An Application to School Choice Decisions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 193-207.
    11. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Justman, Moshe, 2005. "The religious factor in private education," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 391-418, May.
    12. Rubinfeld, Daniel L. & Shapiro, Perry, 1989. "Micro-estimation of the demand for schooling : Evidence from Michigan and Massachusetts," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 381-398, August.
    13. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
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