, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 203-219

Religiosity as a Determinant of Educational Attainment: The Case of Conservative Protestant Women in the United States

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Abstract

This paper examines the role of religiosity as a determinant of the educational attainment of women raised as conservative Protestants in the United States. A human capital model based on the demand and supply of funds for investments in education is used to develop hypotheses about various causal links between religiosity and years of schooling. 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. Among respondents raised as conservative Protestants, those who attended religious services frequently during their adolescent years are found to complete one more year of schooling than their counterparts who were less observant. The gap is smaller, but still sizeable and statistically significant, when other factors are held constant in a multivariate analysis. The empirical results are consistent with the hypothesis that positive demand-side influences are dominant and explain the observed association between religiosity and educational attainment.