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Using the tools of economics, this book analyses how religion affects decisions and outcomes in a wide range of areas, including education, employment, family size, entry into cohabitation and formal marriage, the choice of spouse and divorce.
In each case, the relationships are rigorously quantified based on multivariate statistical analyses of large scale US data. The results show, for example, that when people marry outside their faith, there is an increase in the probability of divorce, the magnitude of the adverse effect depending in part on the ecumenical/exclusivist nature of the two religions. Other analyses show that youth who grow up with some religion in their lives are less likely than their counterparts with little or no religious involvement to drop out of high school or enter cohabiting arrangements at a young age. Overall, both religious affiliation and the extent of participation in religious activities are found to have far-reaching implications for economic and demographic behaviour.
The book contains a wealth of data illustrating how the religious and secular realms of people’s lives are intimately intertwined. With its economic perspective, it offers new ways of thinking about these relationships and is a valuable resource for students and scholars interested in the role of religion in education, work and the family.
Part I. The Role of Religion in Marriage and Divorce, 1. Religion as a Determinant of Marital Stability, 2. Religious Intermarriage in the United States: Determinants and Trends, Part II. The Role of Religion in Female Labor Supply and Fertility, 3. The Effects of Religion on the Labor Supply of Married Women, 4. Religion as a Determinant of Fertility, Part III. The Role of Religion in Education and Well-Being, 5. The Benefits From Marriage and Religion in the United States, 6. Religion as a Determinant of Educational Attainment: An Economic Perspective, 7. Religion and High School Graduation: A Comparative Analysis of Patterns for White and Black Young Women, Part IV. A Revised Analytical Framework, Conclusions, and Directions for Future Research, 8. The Role of Religion in Union Formation: An Economic Perspective, 9. Religion as a Determinant of Economic and Demographic Behavior in the United States, 10. Recent Developments in the Field and an Agenda for Future Research