Religiosity and Labour Earnings in Canadian Provinces

Abstract

Using recent data from the Canadian General Social Survey, I examine how religious belief and practice relate to labour earnings in Canada. Noting that religious landscape strongly varies across Canadian provinces, I explore whether these discrepancies are reflected in the association of wages and religiosity indicators, for men and women. Moreover, I identify two groups of individuals, one without any tie with religion and spirituality, and the other shaping their lives around them. I find that males belonging to the least religious group earn significantly below otherwise identical individuals in the high affiliation province of Newfoundland, while they enjoy a ceteris paribus wage premium in the low religiosity provinces of British Columbia and Québec. Females of the most religious group, on the other hand, are found at a disadvantage in the Canadian west, where affiliation with Conservative Protestantism is more prevalent.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Given the wide-spread use of cell-phones as a substitute for landlines among the younger cohorts, the GSS Guide acknowledges that the dataset is not a random sample. It recommends the use of the survey weights to mitigate this problem (Page 19): “The survey weights must be used when producing estimates or performing analyses in order to account as much as possible for the geographic over- and under representation and for the under- or over-representation of age and sex groups in the unweighted file.”

  2. 2.

    In the GSS-2011, for the first response category, the reported incidence of religious practice (prayer or attendance) is at least 52 times a year, while in the second category it falls to monthly practice, and from there to 3 times a year. This non-linearity is corrected using the approach proposed by Sander (2002). Sander (2002) maps the predetermined American GSS categories to a quantitative measure as follows: never equals 0; less than once a year equals 0.5; about once or twice a year equals 1; several times a year equals 3; about once a month equals 12; two to three times per month equals 30; nearly every week equals 40; and every week or more often equals 52. To create a comparable range of variation for the question on “importance of belief”, this question’s 4 response categories are rescaled so that this metric also varies between 0 and 52. For the question “importance of religion”, the re-scaling is as follows: Very important, 52; somewhat important, 34.7; not very important, 17.3; and 0 for not important at all.

  3. 3.

    Appendix Figures 2 and 1 depict the share of the individuals belonging to these two groups against the share of religious nones, by Canadian province. These figures well illustrate the outlier status of the three provinces of Newfoundland (NL), Québec (QC), and British Columbia (BC).

  4. 4.

    The Québec Charter of Values (French: Charte de la laïcité or Charte des valeurs québécoises) was a bill introduced by the governing Parti Québécois in 2013, in the Canadian province of Québec. It intended to define the limits of religious reasonable accommodation in Québec. There was much controversy in Québec and elsewhere about the Charter, especially its proposed prohibition of public sector employees from wearing or displaying “conspicuous” religious symbols. According to the bill, relatively discreet items such as a finger ring, earring or small pendants bearing a religious symbol would be allowed, while more obvious items such as a kippah, turban, head scarf, and larger crosses and religious pendants would be prohibited. The bill died on the order paper as of March 5, 2014.

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Correspondence to Maryam Dilmaghani.

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Appendix

Appendix

Fig. 2
figure2

Percentage Share of the Least Religious by Province, Sample of Employee and Self-employed. Note: Provincial means are calculated using the weighted data from the Canadian GSS of 2011, administered by Statistics Canada

Fig. 3
figure3

Percentage Share of the Most Religious by Province, Sample of Employee and Self-employed. Note: Provincial means are calculated using the weighted data from the Canadian GSS of 2011, administered by Statistics Canada

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Dilmaghani, M. Religiosity and Labour Earnings in Canadian Provinces. J Labor Res 38, 82–99 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12122-016-9239-y

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Keywords

  • Religiosity
  • Wage
  • Gender
  • Canada

JEL Classification

  • J15
  • J31
  • Z12