The Surprisingly Small Effects of Religion-Based Discrimination in Education

50 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2018 Last revised: 7 Aug 2021

See all articles by Victor Lavy

Victor Lavy

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Edith Sand

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics

Moses Shayo

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 2018

Abstract

Religions often preach preferential treatment of fellow believers, but the magnitude and economic implications of religion-based discrimination are largely unknown, partly because religiosity is often confounded with ethnicity. We analyze grading decisions in national matriculation exams in Israel, exploiting unique features that reveal student religiosity to the graders, and grader religiosity to the researcher. We find evidence of religiosity-based ingroup bias. Substantively, however, the effects of this bias are small. One reason is that religious bias is entirely driven by men. Furthermore, patterns of bunching in the grade distribution suggest the primary source of bias is the religious (rather than secular) men – a small fraction of the grader population. A second potential reason is that many graders live in integrated communities. Indeed, we find that living and working in close proximity to people with different levels of religiosity appears to attenuate religion-based discrimination.

Suggested Citation

Lavy, Victor and Sand, Edith and Shayo, Moses, The Surprisingly Small Effects of Religion-Based Discrimination in Education (August 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3236727

Victor Lavy (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 2 588 3245 (Phone)
+972 2 581 6071 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Edith Sand

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 39040
Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, 69978
Israel

Moses Shayo

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905
Israel

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