The Determinants of Church Attendance and Religious Human Capital in Germany: Evidence from Panel Data
University of Bamberg, Institute for Economic Research (DIW) Discussion Paper No. 263
25 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2002
Date Written: October 2001
This paper explores determinants of church attendance and the formation of "religious human capital" in Germany within a Becker-style allocation-of-time framework. The analysis is based on data derived from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP). Taking advantage of the longitudinal structure of the data, unobservable heterogeneity is controlled for by applying a random-effects ordered probit model to estimate separate attendance equations as well as "faith intensity" equations for males and females. The results suggest support for previous findings based on British and North American data that age is a strong predictor for church attendance. Economic variables account for some of the variation inasmuch as high non-labour income releases time that can be devoted to religious activities. Higher wages, however, lead to decreasing attendance rates. Results for differences in partnership status and for spouses with different religions point to the complementary character of religious experience. Having at hand an exceptional situation in the regional structure of religious traditions due to the different historical developments in the past decades, it is found, not too surprisingly, that strength of belief is lower in the formerly atheistic East Germany. It is, however, not clear-cut that NorthSouth or ProtestantCatholic divides exist in religious participation.
Keywords: Religious behavior, allocation of time, random-effects ordered probit model
JEL Classification: D12, J29, Z12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation