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Young Women's Religious Affiliation and Participation as Determinants of High School Completion


  • Lehrer, Evelyn L.

    () (University of Illinois at Chicago)


The far-reaching consequences of failing to complete secondary schooling are well known. The central questions addressed in this study are: Does religion make a difference in the likelihood of successfully completing the transition to high-school graduation? If so, how large are the influences? Based on a human capital framework, the paper develops hypotheses about the effects of two dimensions of religion during childhood – affiliation and participation – and tests them with data on non-Hispanic white, African-American, and Hispanic female respondents from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth. The results are generally consistent with the hypotheses, revealing sizeable differentials in high-school graduation rates by affiliation and participation. The results also uncover pronounced differences by race/ ethnicity.

Suggested Citation

  • Lehrer, Evelyn L., 2005. "Young Women's Religious Affiliation and Participation as Determinants of High School Completion," IZA Discussion Papers 1818, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1818

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Lee Lillard & Constantijn Panis, 1996. "Marital status and mortality: The role of health," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 33(3), pages 313-327, August.
    5. Levin, Jeffrey S., 1994. "Religion and health: Is there an association, is it valid, and is it causal?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 1475-1482, June.
    6. Brenner, Reuven & Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1981. "The Economics of the Diaspora: Discrimination and Occupational Structure," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 517-534, April.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giuseppina Autiero & Concetto Paolo Vinci, 2010. "Government regulation of religion and investments in human and physical capital: Religion versus secularism," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 119-135, January.
    2. Chiswick, Barry R. & Huang, Jidong, 2006. "The Earnings of American Jewish Men: Human Capital, Denomination and Religiosity," IZA Discussion Papers 2301, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Luigi Aldieri & Giuseppina Autiero, 2013. "Religious values, secular education and development:empirical evidence from some Latin American countries," Review of Applied Socio-Economic Research, Pro Global Science Association, vol. 5(1), pages 15-32, June.

    More about this item


    education; religion;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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