Religious Affiliation and Participation as Determinants of Women's Educational Attainment and Wages

Evelyn Lehrer, University of Illinois at Chicago

Using a human capital model, this paper develops hypotheses about how religious affiliation and participation during childhood influence years of schooling completed and subsequent performance in the labor market as measured by wages. The hypotheses are tested using data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth, a large-scale survey addressed to a representative sample of women in the United States. Religious affiliation is found to have a significant impact on years of schooling completed, with the effects being particularly pronounced for Jews and conservative Protestants. The impact of religious affiliation on wages largely mirrors its influence on educational attainment, although evidence of additional effects operating through other channels is also uncovered. In addition, the results show that young women who attend religious services frequently during childhood go on to complete more years of schooling than their less observant counterparts.

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Presented in Session 80: Religion and Religiosity: Trends and Patterns