Religion and the Gender Wage Gap: A U.S. State-Level Study
21 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 26, 2016
In this paper we investigate the relationship between informal institutions – proxied for by measures of religiosity – and the gap between male and female incomes in the U.S. states, using Pew U.S. Religious Landscape Survey data, and Census Bureau estimates of male and female median incomes. We single out measures of belief (e.g., expressed belief in God; interpretations of scripture) and participation (e.g., worship service attendance; frequency of prayer) as potential determinants of the gender wage gap. After controlling for a number of gender income gap determinants – age, education, marital status, occupation and time in the workforce for female participants – we find that greater belief and belonging are significantly and positively correlated with a state’s median gender income gap. Specifically, a percentage point increase in religiosity (increase in population of believers or that of belonging) is related to a larger gender wage gap by 0.3 percentage points (a 0.10 standard deviation).
Keywords: inequality; discrimination; religion; U.S. states
JEL Classification: D63; J71; R1; Z12
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