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Religion and the Gender Wage Gap: A U.S. State-Level Study

21 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2016  

Travis Wiseman

Mississippi State University - Department of Finance and Economics

Nabamita Dutta

University of Wisconsin, La Crosse

Date Written: February 26, 2016

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Wiseman, Travis and Dutta, Nabamita, Religion and the Gender Wage Gap: A U.S. State-Level Study (February 26, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2738523 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2738523

Travis Wiseman (Contact Author)

Mississippi State University - Department of Finance and Economics ( email )

Mississippi State, MS 39762
United States

Nabamita Dutta

University of Wisconsin, La Crosse ( email )

Dept. of Economics, 1725 State Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
United States
6087855294 (Phone)

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