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Church Benefits


In an article in The Economist, MIT professor Jon Gruber talks about the benefits of church attendance.  Here's an excerpt:

Some of the occasional churchgoers must wonder whether they might benefit from turning up more often. If they did so, they could gain more than spiritual nourishment. Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims that regular religious participation leads to better education, higher income and a lower chance of divorce.

At the microeconomic level, several studies have concluded that religious participation is associated with lower rates of crime, drug use and so forth. Richard Freeman, another Harvard economist, found 20 years ago that churchgoing black youths were more likely to attend school and less likely to commit crimes or use drugs.

Mr. Gruber's results suggest that higher church attendance leads to more years at school and less chance of dropping out of college.

Finally, religious faith itself might be the channel through which churchgoers become richer. Perhaps, Mr. Gruber muses, the faithful may be "less stressed out" about life's daily travails and thus better equipped for success.

His results* (based on data covering non-Hispanic white Americans of several Christian denominations, other faiths and none) imply that doubling church attendance raises someone's income by almost 10%.

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