The Effect of Education on Religion: Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws
Daniel M. Hungerman
University of Notre Dame
NBER Working Paper No. w16973
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Date posted: April 25, 2011