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Is Hanukkah responsive to Christmas?

Author

Listed:
  • Ran Abramitzky

    () (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

  • Liran Einav

    () (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

  • Oren Rigbi

    () (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

Abstract

We study the extent to which religious activity responds to the presence and activity of other religions. Specifcally, we employ individual-level survey data and county-level expenditure data to examine the extent to which Hanukkah celebration among U.S. Jews is driven by the presence of Christmas. We find that: (1) Jews with children at home are more likely to celebrate Hanukkah than Jews without children. (2) The effect of having children on Hanukkah celebrations is higher for reform Jews than for orthodox Jews; and, it is higher for Jews who feel a stronger sense of belonging to Judaism. (3) Jewish-related expenditures in Hanukkah are higher in counties with lower share of Jews. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that Jews increase religious activity during Hanukkah because of the presence of Christmas, and this response is primarily driven by the presence of children at home. One underlying motivator might be that Jewish parents in the U.S. celebrate Hanukkah more intensively so heir children do not feel left out, and/or because they are concerned that their children will convert or intermarry.

Suggested Citation

  • Ran Abramitzky & Liran Einav & Oren Rigbi, 2008. "Is Hanukkah responsive to Christmas?," Discussion Papers 07-049, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:07-049
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    File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/07-049.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Iannaccone, Laurence R & Finke, Roger & Stark, Rodney, 1997. "Deregulating Religion: The Economics of Church and State," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 350-364, April.
    2. Gruber Jonathan H, 2005. "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-32, September.
    3. 上垣, 彰, 2002. "中東欧における年金改革の現状 : Katharina Muller, The Political Economy of Pension Reform in Central-Eastern Europe, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 1999, xiv, 222p の紹介と若干のコメント," Discussion Paper 49, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    4. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
    5. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
    6. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    7. Jonathan Gruber, 2005. "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?," NBER Working Papers 11377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Danny Cohen-Zada & Todd Elder, 2012. "Religious Pluralism, Religious Market Shares and the Demand for Religious Schooling," Working Papers 1201, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
    2. Laura Birg & Anna Goeddeke, 2016. "Christmas Economics—A Sleigh Ride," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(4), pages 1980-1984, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religions; Hanukkah; Identity;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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