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Empirics on the Origins of Preferences: The Case of College Major and Religiosity

Author

Listed:
  • Miles S. Kimball
  • Colter M. Mitchell
  • Arland D. Thornton
  • Linda C. Young-Demarco

Abstract

Early life experiences are likely to be important for the formation of preferences. Religiosity is a key dimension of preferences, affecting many economic outcomes. This paper examines the effect of college major on religiosity, and the converse effect of religiosity on college major, using panel data from the Monitoring the Future survey as a way of gauging the extent to which various streams of thought, as taught in college, affect religiosity. Two key questions, based on the differences in college experience across majors, are whether either (a) the Scientific worldview or (b) Postmodernism has negative effects on religiosity as these streams of thought are actually transmitted at the college level. The results show a decline in religiosity of students majoring in the social sciences and humanities, but a rise in religiosity for those in education and business. After initial choices, those respondents with high levels of religiosity are more likely to enter college. Of those who are in college, people with high levels of religiosity tend to go into the humanities and education over other majors.

Suggested Citation

  • Miles S. Kimball & Colter M. Mitchell & Arland D. Thornton & Linda C. Young-Demarco, 2009. "Empirics on the Origins of Preferences: The Case of College Major and Religiosity," NBER Working Papers 15182, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15182
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, 2015. "Acts of God? Religiosity and Natural Disasters Across Subnational World Districts," Discussion Papers 15-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    2. Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, 2013. "Origins of Religiousness: The Role of Natural Disasters," Discussion Papers 13-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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