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Religion as a Determinant of Economic and Demographic Behavior in the United States

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  • Lehrer, Evelyn L.

    () (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Abstract

This paper critically reviews and synthesizes research on the role of religion on various aspects of the economic and demographic behavior of individuals and families in the United States, including the choice of marital partner, union formation and dissolution, fertility, female time allocation, education, wages, and wealth. Using a theoretical framework based on Gary Becker’s contributions to the economics of the family, religious affiliation is seen to affect these outcomes because it has an impact on the costs and benefits of many interrelated decisions that people make over the life cycle. In addition, for behaviors that pertain to married couple households, affiliation matters because it is a complementary trait within the context of marriage. Religiosity, another dimension of religion, also affects economic and demographic outcomes, partly because it accentuates differences by religious affiliation, partly because of the generally beneficial effects that religious involvement has on health and well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • Lehrer, Evelyn L., 2004. "Religion as a Determinant of Economic and Demographic Behavior in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 1390, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1390
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kevin McQuillan, 2004. "When Does Religion Influence Fertility?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(1), pages 25-56.
    2. Richard B. Freeman, 1985. "Who Escapes? The Relation of Church-Going & Other Background Factors to the Socio-Economic Performance of Blk. Male Yths. from Inner-City Pvrty Tracts," NBER Working Papers 1656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Richard B. Freeman & Harry J. Holzer, 1986. "The Black Youth Employment Crisis: Summary of Findings," NBER Chapters,in: The Black Youth Employment Crisis, pages 3-20 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Chiswick, Barry R, 1986. "Labor Supply and Investment in Child Quality: A Study of Jewish and Non-Jewish Women," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 700-703, November.
    5. Ayal, Eliezer B & Chiswick, Barry R, 1983. "The Economics of the Diaspora Revisited," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(4), pages 861-875, July.
    6. William Sander, 1993. "Catholicism and marriage in the united states," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 30(3), pages 373-384, August.
    7. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-1187, December.
    8. Evelyn Lehrer, 1996. "Religion as a determinant of marital fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(2), pages 173-196, June.
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    11. Richard B. Freeman, 1986. "Who Escapes? The Relation of Churchgoing and Other Background Factors to the Socioeconomic Performance of Black Male Youths from Inner-City Tracts," NBER Chapters,in: The Black Youth Employment Crisis, pages 353-376 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Evelyn Lehrer & Carmel Chiswick, 1993. "Religion as a determinant of marital stability," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 30(3), pages 385-404, August.
    13. William Mosher & Gerry Hendershot, 1984. "Religion and fertility: A replication," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 21(2), pages 185-191, May.
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    15. Linda J. Waite & Evelyn L. Lehrer, 2003. "The Benefits from Marriage and Religion in the United States: A Comparative Analysis," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 29(2), pages 255-275.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; female employment; marriage; demography; religion; fertility;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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