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On the causal effect of religiosity on life satisfaction using a propensity score matching technique

Roberto Zotti (), Nino Speziale and Cristian Barra

International Journal of Social Economics, 2016, vol. 43, issue 10, 1031-1048

Abstract: Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of religious involvement on subjective well-being (SWB), specifically taking into account the implication of selection effects explaining religious influence using the British Household Panel Survey data set. Design/methodology/approach - In order to measure the level of religious involvement, the authors construct different indices on the base of individual religious belonging, participation and beliefs applying a propensity score matching estimator. Findings - The results show that religious active participation plays a relevant role among the different aspects of religiosity; moreover, having a strong religious identity such as, at the same time, belonging to any religion, attending religious services once a week or more and believing that religion makes a great difference in life, has a high causal impact on SWB. The authors’ findings are robust to different aspects of life satisfaction. Originality/value - The authors offer an econometric account of the causal impact of different aspects of religiosity finding evidence that the causal effect of religious involvement on SWB is better captured than through typical regression methodologies focussing on the mean effects of the explanatory variables.

Keywords: Religion; Subjective well-being; Propensity score technique; C21; C40; I31; Z12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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