Preserving religious identity through education: Economic analysis and evidence from the US

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Abstract

This paper models the decision of religious parents to send their children to private religious schools as reflecting their desire to shield their children from external influences and thus preserve their religious identity. It follows that when the share of the minority in the local population grows-and outside influences become less threatening-the demand for separate religious schooling among the members of the religious group decreases. This pattern implies concavity in the relationship between enrollment in private and religious schooling and the share of the religious group in the population. We present empirical evidence from United States county data on Catholic and private school enrollment that strongly supports our theory. The paper contributes to a better understanding of the demand for religious education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-398
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Urban Economics
Volume60
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2006

Keywords

  • Demand for schooling
  • Religious education
  • School choice

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