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Has education led to secularization? Based on the study of compulsory education law in China

Yinhe Liang and Zhiyong Dong

China Economic Review, 2019, vol. 54, issue C, 324-336

Abstract: Has education led to secularization? Using microdata from the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS), we take the implementation of the Compulsory Education Law (CEL) in 1986 in China as the instrumental variables (IV) for personal educational attainment. We study the causal effect of education on personal religious beliefs and explore the potential mechanisms. The empirical results show that education can lead to secularization. More precisely, individual religious belief decreases by 1.5% with one additional year of personal education. In addition, the increase in regional urbanization significantly affects religious beliefs by replacing the insurance function of religion and reducing information acquisition costs. Moreover, there is an alternative relationship between religious activities and social activities, and women affected by the CEL experience a higher negative impact on religious beliefs than men.

Keywords: Education; Secularization; Religious belief; Instrumental variables; CEL (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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China Economic Review is currently edited by B.M. Fleisher, K. X. D. Huang, M.E. Lovely, Y. Wen, X. Zhang and X. Zhu

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