Religion as a Determinant of Economic and Demographic Behavior in the United States

37 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2004

See all articles by Evelyn L. Lehrer

Evelyn L. Lehrer

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: November 2004

Abstract

This paper critically reviews and synthesizes research on the role of religion on various aspects of the economic and demographic behavior of individuals and families in the United States, including the choice of marital partner, union formation and dissolution, fertility, female time allocation, education, wages, and wealth. Using a theoretical framework based on Gary Becker's contributions to the economics of the family, religious affiliation is seen to affect these outcomes because it has an impact on the costs and benefits of many interrelated decisions that people make over the life cycle. In addition, for behaviors that pertain to married couple households, affiliation matters because it is a complementary trait within the context of marriage. Religiosity, another dimension of religion, also affects economic and demographic outcomes, partly because it accentuates differences by religious affiliation, partly because of the generally beneficial effects that religious involvement has on health and well-being.

Keywords: religion, demography, marriage, female employment, education, fertility

JEL Classification: J1, J2

Suggested Citation

Lehrer, Evelyn L., Religion as a Determinant of Economic and Demographic Behavior in the United States (November 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=617413

Evelyn L. Lehrer (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

725 University Hall (UH)
Chicago, IL 60607-7121
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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