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Compulsory Schooling Laws and Formation of Beliefs: Education, Religion and Superstition

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  • Naci Mocan
  • Luiza Pogorelova

Abstract

We exploit information on compulsory schooling reforms in 11 European countries, implemented mostly in the 1960s and 70s, to identify the impact of education on religious adherence and religious practices. Using micro data from the European Social Survey, conducted in various years between 2002 and 2013, we find consistently large negative effects of schooling on self-reported religiosity, social religious acts (attending religious services), as well as solitary religious acts (the frequency of praying). We also use data from European Values Survey to apply the same empirical design to analyze the impact of schooling on superstitious beliefs. We find that more education, due to increased mandatory years of schooling, reduces individuals' propensity to believe in the power of lucky charms and the tendency to take into account horoscopes in daily life.

Suggested Citation

  • Naci Mocan & Luiza Pogorelova, 2014. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and Formation of Beliefs: Education, Religion and Superstition," NBER Working Papers 20557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20557
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    1. repec:eei:journl:v:60:y:2017:i:1:p:28-51 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Pedro Albarran Pérez & Marisa Hidalgo Hidalgo & Iñigo Iturbe-Ormaetxe Kortajarene, 2017. "Schooling and adult health: Can education overcome bad early-life conditions?," Working Papers. Serie AD 2017-09, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    3. Lant Pritchett & Martina Viarengo, 2015. "The State, Socialisation, and Private Schooling: When Will Governments Support Alternative Producers?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(7), pages 784-807, July.
    4. Méon, Pierre-Guillaume & Tojerow, Ilan, 2016. "In God We Learn? Religions' Universal Messages, Context-Specific Effects, and Minority Status," IZA Discussion Papers 10077, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Ralsmark, Hilda, 2017. "Education, norms, and gender equality," Working Papers in Economics 702, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    6. Olga Popova, 2016. "Suffer for the Faith? Parental Religiosity and Children’s Health," Working Papers 356, Leibniz Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies).
    7. Eiji Yamamura, 2017. "Historical education levels and present-day non-cognitive skills," Journal of Economics and Econometrics, Economics and Econometrics Society, vol. 60(1), pages 28-51.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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