The Effect of Education on Religion: Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws
For over a century, social scientists have debated how educational attainment impacts religious belief. In this paper, I use Canadian compulsory schooling laws to identify the relationship between completed schooling and later religiosity. I find that higher levels of education lead to lower levels of religious participation later in life. An additional year of education leads to a 4-percentage-point decline in the likelihood that an individual identifies with any religious tradition; the estimates suggest that increases in schooling can explain most of the large rise in non-affiliation in Canada in recent decades.
I thank Phil Oreopoulos for providing me with data. This research developed from work funded by the NIH, grant 1R03HD058947-01A1. Email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
“The Effect of Education on Religion: Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws,” forthcoming at the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization citation courtesy of