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Religious Participation versus Shopping: What Makes People Happier?

Author

Listed:
  • Cohen-Zada, Danny

    () (Ben Gurion University)

  • Sander, William

    () (DePaul University)

Abstract

In this paper, we first explore how an exogenous increase in the opportunity cost of religious participation affects individuals' religious participation and reported happiness using data from the General Social Survey. The exogenous shift in the cost of religious participation is a result of repealing of so-called blue laws which restrict retail activity on Sundays. We find that repealing blue laws causes a significant decline in the level of religious participation of white women and in their happiness. We do not observe any significant decline in reported happiness of other groups whose religious participation was not significantly affected by repeal. We also use repeal as an instrumental variable (IV) for church attendance and provide direct evidence that church attendance has a significant positive effect on happiness, especially for women.

Suggested Citation

  • Cohen-Zada, Danny & Sander, William, 2010. "Religious Participation versus Shopping: What Makes People Happier?," IZA Discussion Papers 5198, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5198
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    4. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-1831, November.
    5. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce I. Sacerdote, 2008. "Education and Religion," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(2), pages 188-215.
    6. Dara N. Lee, 2011. "The Impact of Repealing Sunday Closing Laws on Educational Attainment," Working Papers 1117, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
    7. Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, 2003. "Libertarian Paternalism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 175-179, May.
    8. Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
    9. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Happiness Inequality in the United States," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(S2), pages 33-79, June.
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    13. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2009. "Estimating the Causal Effects of Income on Happiness," Discussion Papers 09/02, Department of Economics, University of York.
    14. Gerber, Alan S. & Gruber, Jonathan & Hungerman, Daniel M., 2016. "Does Church Attendance Cause People to Vote? Using Blue Laws’ Repeal to Estimate the Effect of Religiosity on Voter Turnout," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(03), pages 481-500, July.
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Freedom, rationality & religion
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2010-10-11 19:25:51
    2. Diversifying mental states
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-02-02 19:39:27
    3. Some benefits of religion
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-02-10 19:54:16

    More about this item

    Keywords

    blue laws; religious participation; happiness;

    JEL classification:

    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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