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The Role of Religion in Economic and Demographic Behavior in the United States: A Review of the Recent Literature

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  • Lehrer, Evelyn L.

    () (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Abstract

This paper presents a critical review and synthesis of recent research on the role of religion in economic and demographic behavior in the United States. Relationships reviewed include the effects of religion on investments in human capital, labor supply and wealth accumulation; union formation and dissolution; and fertility. The paper also comments on the growing literature on the implications of religious dissimilarity between the spouses; on two different, possibly countervailing ways in which religiosity may affect demographic and economic behavior; and on the importance of estimating models that allow for possible non-linearities in the effects of religiosity.

Suggested Citation

  • 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3541
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lehrer, Evelyn L. & Lehrer, Vivian L. & Krauss, Ramona, 2009. "Religion and Intimate Partner Violence in Chile: Macro- and Micro-Level Influences," IZA Discussion Papers 4067, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    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. Evelyn Lehrer, 2006. "Religion and high-school graduation: a comparative analysis of patterns for white and black young women," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 277-293, September.
    4. William Mosher & Linda Williams & David Johnson, 1992. "Religion and fertility in the United States: New patterns," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 29(2), pages 199-214, May.
    5. Chiswick, Barry R. & Huang, Jidong, 2006. "The Earnings of American Jewish Men: Human Capital, Denomination and Religiosity," IZA Discussion Papers 2301, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. 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.
    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. Bradley Ruffle & Richard Sosis, 2003. "Religious ritual and cooperation: Testing for a relationship on israeli religious and secular kibbutzim," Artefactual Field Experiments 00103, The Field Experiments Website.
    9. Eli BERMAN & Laurence R. IANNACCONE & Giuseppe RAGUSA, 2018. "From Empty Pews to Empty Cradles: Fertility Decline among European Catholics," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 149-187, June.
    10. Pablo BraÒas-Garza & Shoshana Neuman, 2004. "Analyzing Religiosity within an Economic Framework: The Case of Spanish Catholics," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 5-22, March.
    11. 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.
    12. Robert J. Barro & Jason Hwang, 2007. "Religious Conversion in 40 Countries," NBER Working Papers 13689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Dehejia, Rajeev & DeLeire, Thomas & Luttmer, Erzo F.P., 2007. "Insuring consumption and happiness through religious organizations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 259-279, February.
    14. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Shoshana Neuman, 2007. "Parental religiosity and daughters’ fertility: the case of Catholics in southern Europe," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 305-327, September.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. Neal, Derek, 1997. "The Effects of Catholic Secondary Schooling on Educational Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 98-123, January.
    18. 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, June.
    19. Barry R. Chiswick, 1988. "Differences in Education and Earnings Across Racial and Ethnic Groups: Tastes, Discrimination, and Investments in Child Quality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 571-597.
    20. Chiswick, Barry R., 2008. "The Rise and Fall of the American Jewish PhD," IZA Discussion Papers 3384, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    21. 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. León, Anja Köbrich & Pfeifer, Christian, 2017. "Religious activity, risk-taking preferences and financial behaviour: Empirical evidence from German survey data," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 99-107.
    2. Charles Westoff & Emily Marshall, 2010. "Hispanic Fertility, Religion and Religiousness in the U.S," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 29(4), pages 441-452, August.
    3. Anja Koebrich Leon, 2013. "Religion and Economic Outcomes – Household Savings Behavior in the USA," Working Paper Series in Economics 268, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    4. Lídia Farré & Francis Vella, 2013. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Gender Role Attitudes and its Implications for Female Labour Force Participation," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(318), pages 219-247, April.
    5. Maryam Dilmaghani, 2012. "Global financial crisis: dharmic transgressions and solutions," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 39(1), pages 55-80, January.
    6. Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2016. "Social networks and parental behavior in the intergenerational transmission of religion," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 7(3), pages 969-995, November.
    7. Cohen-Zada, Danny & Elder, Todd E., 2017. "Religious Pluralism and the Transmission of Religious Values through Education," IZA Discussion Papers 10569, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Kumar, Alok & Page, Jeremy K. & Spalt, Oliver G., 2011. "Religious beliefs, gambling attitudes, and financial market outcomes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(3), pages 671-708.
    9. Stephan Bartke & Reimund Schwarze, 2008. "Risk-Averse by Nation or by Religion?: Some Insights on the Determinants of Individual Risk Attitudes," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 131, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    female labor supply; fertility; education; divorce; marriage; religion;

    JEL classification:

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

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