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The macro‐level effect of religiosity on health

Dierk Herzer

Health Economics, 2022, vol. 31, issue 6, 993-1011

Abstract: An issue that has not yet been explored in the religiosity‐health literature is the macro‐level effect of religiosity on health—the effect of the religiosity of a society on the absolute health of the population of that society as a whole. We address this issue using two panel datasets: The first is a time‐series cross‐sectional panel dataset for 17 countries from 1925 to 2000. The second is a cross‐sectionally dominated panel dataset of up to 92 countries for the period 1981–2016. Our main findings are as follows: first, religiosity has a significant negative causal effect on health at the macro level; second, a substantial part of this effect can be attributed to an indirect effect via public health expenditures; and third, changes in population health do not cause significant changes in societal religiosity.

Date: 2022
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