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The Effect of Education on Religion: Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws

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  • Daniel M. Hungerman

Abstract

For over a century, social scientists have debated how educational attainment impacts religious belief. In this paper, I use Canadian compulsory schooling laws to identify the relationship between completed schooling and later religiosity. I find that higher levels of education lead to lower levels of religious participation later in life. An additional year of education leads to a 4-percentage-point decline in the likelihood that an individual identifies with any religious tradition; the estimates suggest that increases in schooling can explain most of the large rise in non-affiliation in Canada in recent decades.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel M. Hungerman, 2011. "The Effect of Education on Religion: Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws," NBER Working Papers 16973, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16973
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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