Essays on market outcomes and religiosity
Meredith, Neil Raymond
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In one subject area of economics, the economics of religion, a growing body of research explores the relationships between market and religious outcomes. The essays add to this research by investigating links between market outcomes and religiosity. In the first essay with David Mustard, we consider differential enrollment growth for religiously affiliated postsecondary institutions relative to private secular institutions in the United States from 1991-2005. We uncover evidence that enrollment growth in religiously affiliated institutions is higher for total, whites, blacks, Hispanics, and males than private secular institutions. We also address whether the religious intensity of an institution also affects enrollment gains. After controlling for other factors we find that intensely Protestant institutions are growing faster for total, blacks, Hispanics, and females relative to other Protestant institutions, which in turn are growing faster than their private secular counterparts. For the second essay, I revisit the relationship between labor income and religiosity to explore whether an omitted variable creates an endogeneity bias. I conduct robustness checks using wages in place of labor income. With the exception of the relationship between labor income and religiosity for men, I find that ordinary least squares of the relationship between labor income and religiosity and between wages and religiosity are reliable due to weak instrument problems. Panel estimation is also attempted for both genders. A lack of variation in frequency of attendance and frequency of prayer within individuals yields insignificant results. In the third essay, I use count data estimation to evaluate the relationship between unemployment and the frequency of religious service attendance and the relationship between being out of the labor force and the frequency of religious service attendance for individuals of working age. I also address the duration of unemployment and time spent out of the labor force. Results reveal that unemployment and the frequency of religious service attendance are uncorrelated. When out of the labor force, younger men, older men, and older women are predicted to attend less frequently.