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

See all articles by Guido Heineck

Guido Heineck

University of Bamberg; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: October 2001

Abstract

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

Heineck, Guido, The Determinants of Church Attendance and Religious Human Capital in Germany: Evidence from Panel Data (October 2001). University of Bamberg, Institute for Economic Research (DIW) Discussion Paper No. 263. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=318279 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.318279

Guido Heineck (Contact Author)

University of Bamberg

Feldkirchenstr. 21
Bamberg, 96052
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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