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Intelligence, Religiosity, and Environmental Emissions

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Abstract

This paper evaluates the nexus between intelligence, religiosity, and environmental emissions. Based on US state-level data, this paper makes four key contributions. First, the relationship between IQ and religiosity is negative and unidirectional flowing only from IQ to religiosity. Second, religiosity is associated with greater emissions and is found to moderate the link between intelligence and emissions. Third, IQ is found to moderate the link between religiosity and emissions. Fourth, an individual-level analysis based on GSS data provides evidence suggesting that high religiosity is associated with negative attitudes toward the environment, whereas higher educational attainment is associated with pro-environmental attitudes.

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Notes

  1. Dominion over nature is a belief in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism that God bestowed upon humans dominion over every element of the physical world. For instance, this is described in the Old Testament, Genesis 1:26-28.

  2. Intelligence at the US state level was also found to be positively correlated with favorable reproductive health statistics, whereas religiosity was negatively correlated with such statistics (Reeve and Basalik 2011). In particular, religiosity was found to mediate the positive effect of IQ on reproductive health, and IQ and education failed to influence infant mortality rates due to a large share of the total effect being transmitted through the direct impact of IQ and education on religiosity.

  3. The interaction between IQ and religiosity was also found to influence national health outcomes (Reeve 2009). Specifically, a high belief rate was associated with high fertility and infant and maternal mortality when IQ was low.

  4. Correlation between RELIGIOSITY and other measures of religious behavior is 0.985, 0.978, 0.943, and 0.955, respectively, for IMPORTANT, PRAYER, WORSHIP, and BELIEF.

  5. A variable capturing population density was also introduced, but it was excluded due to a lack of statistical significance and because its inclusion did not alter the estimation results.

  6. The quadratic term of ln(INC) was also included to account for the potential presence of an environmental Kuznets curve (Grossman and Krueger 1995). However, due to a lack of statistical significance across all estimations, it was excluded from the analysis.

  7. There are other variables in the GSS data, such as how important r finds believing in God without doubt (BELIEVE) and how religious r is (FEELREL), but they cannot be used as they do not share observations with the other variables.

  8. It is worth noting that although the Hansen–Sargan over-identification test, reported in Table 2, rejects the null hypothesis that the model is not over-identified, the parameter estimates can still be consistent as long as the model is theoretically sound and plausible. The over-identification test can also be violated in the presence of heterogeneous treatment effects.

  9. Real per capita GDP was introduced in its quadratic form in the estimations but it was not statistically significant.

  10. Estimations related to the BELIEF variable are not included due to lack of statistical significance.

  11. Estimations related to the BELIEF variable are not included due to lack of statistical significance.

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Squalli, J. Intelligence, Religiosity, and Environmental Emissions. Eastern Econ J 48, 418–449 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41302-022-00212-3

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