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Education and Religion

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  • Bruce Sacerdote
  • Edward L. Glaeser

Abstract

In the United States, religious attendance rises sharply with education across individuals, but religious attendance declines sharply with education across denominations. This puzzle is explained if education both increases the returns to social connection and reduces the extent of religious belief. The positive effect of education on sociability explains the positive education-religion relationship. The negative effect of education on religious belief causes more educated individuals to sort into less fervent religions, which explains the negative relationship between education and religion across denominations. Cross-country differences in the impact of education on religious belief can explain the large cross-country variation in the education-religion connection. These cross-country differences in the education-belief relationship can be explained by political factors (such as communism) which lead some countries to use state-controlled education to discredit religion.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Sacerdote & Edward L. Glaeser, 2001. "Education and Religion," NBER Working Papers 8080, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8080
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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