Education and Religion

53 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2001

See all articles by Edward L. Glaeser

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Bruce Sacerdote

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2001

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.

JEL Classification: J0, I2

Suggested Citation

Glaeser, Edward L. and Sacerdote, Bruce, Education and Religion (January 2001). Harvard Institute of Economic Research Paper No. 1913. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=263258 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.263258

Edward L. Glaeser (Contact Author)

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