Does Religious Affiliation Protect People's Well-being? Evidence from the Great Recession After Correcting for Selection Effects

30 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2019 Last revised: 18 Nov 2019

See all articles by Christos Makridis

Christos Makridis

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Byron Johnson

Baylor University - Institute for Studies of Religion

Harold Koenig

Duke University

Date Written: November 15, 2019

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of religious affiliation on individual well-being. Using Gallup’s U.S. Daily Poll between 2008 and 2017, we find that those who are engaged in their local church and view their faith as important to them have remarkably acyclical levels of life satisfaction, in addition to having 6% higher current life satisfaction and probability of thriving. We show that the acyclicality of subjective well-being among Christians is not driven by selection effects, or even simply by the presence of greater social capital, but rather a sense of purpose over the business cycle independent of financial circumstances.

Keywords: Well-being, life satisfaction, social capital, business cycle, financial circumstances

JEL Classification: E32, I12, I31, Z12

Suggested Citation

Makridis, Christos and Johnson, Byron and Koenig, Harold, Does Religious Affiliation Protect People's Well-being? Evidence from the Great Recession After Correcting for Selection Effects (November 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3429422 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3429422

Christos Makridis (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Byron Johnson

Baylor University - Institute for Studies of Religion ( email )

One Bear Place #97236
Waco, TX 76798
United States

Harold Koenig

Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

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