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Wednesday, January 06, 2016

An Interesting Tidbit

Religion may have economic benefits. From a recently given paper (hat tip: Marginal Revolution):
Our results suggest that living in a state with a an extra clergy member for each 1,000 habitants increases the earnings of black workers by 1.7 to 3.6 percentage points relative to white workers.. In addition we show that this relationship is robust to different measures of exposure to religious density, and that these estimates increase to 7.6 percentage points when the change on religious density is defined exclusively increasing an extra black religious workers for each 1,000 habitants. Finally, we estimate a series of robustness tests that suggest that these results are not due to spatial sorting across states, nor to secular time trends associated with changes in labor market outcomes for black American workers.
Though it may just be that religion hinders whites more than blacks? Or the paper is totally bogus?


erp said...

I pick Option 3.

Barry Meislin said...

Well, religion certainly has economic benefits for Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright---and other religious charlatans of all various persuasions.

But it also has economic benefits for all those who, because of religious faith and values, decide to make something of their lives instead of the opposite---sometimes against incredible odds.

Morover, the Swiss, or at least some of them, may still harbour Calvinist sympathies. (And who could argue with the Swiss? Or their success....)

However, religion seems to be getting a boost from a source that most Western intellectuals and policy makers, in the latter half of the 20th Century, paid little if no attention to---and even believed was on the way out because it was so backward....

And most of them still don't have a clue---even though it sure is causing a lot of big bangs.

File under: Religion is the barbiturates of the masses.

Peter said...

Well, there was that study commissioned by the Southern Baptist Conference that showed increasing the density of clergy members per thousand by a mere 1.3 results in a 6.7% greater chance of reaching the Kingdom of Heaven.

Barry Meislin said...

I always wondered why those guys were so obese (not that one wishes to make any generalizations, mind you....).

erp said...

... Barry, am I missing something? Neither of the reverends referenced above are obese??? Perhaps it's a typo and you meant to type obtuse?

Barry Meislin said...

Oh, well, I meant spiritually obese (of course).

Harry Eagar said...

The parsimonious explanation would be that the grifters go where the pelf is. I thought you guys believed in market forces.

Hey Skipper said...

The parsimonious explanation would be that Harry didn't spend a second reading the paper, so doesn't realise that his explanation is snotty, irrelevant, and divorced from reality.

Ok, I admit it, I'm being silly. Of course Harry knew it was snotty.


The paper seems plausible. It is well within the realm of reason that churches provide an otherwise lacking sense of community in areas that badly need that sort of thing. In particular, clergy members can, to some extent, be father stand-ins for communities that badly need that sort of thing, also.

erp said...

Priests do want to be addressed as Father ... Other religious as Mother, Sister, Brother ...

It is their intention to supplant the family just like all the other power grabbing socialists.

Clovis e Adri said...

No, it is not Erp.

Healthy congregations incentive family union, reinforcing instead of trying to substitute it.

erp said...

The two aren't mutually exclusive.

Clovis e Adri said...

Actually, they are. Unless you look for another verb to describe whatever you mean, for the one you used is taken:

Full Definition of supplant
: to supersede (another) especially by force or treachery
a (1) obsolete : uproot (2) : to eradicate and supply a substitute for
b : to take the place of and serve as a substitute for especially by reason of superior excellence or power

erp said...

Clovis: Healthy congregations incentive family union, reinforcing instead of trying to substitute it. I believe you mean to use the verb, incentivize, but your intent is clear.

I used supplant advisedly because whether the family is intact or in pieces, congregation leaders provide an overriding authority and co-opting traditional words for family members makes the transition easy for people to accept.

Remember lefties are masters of semantics and it didn't start with Marx.

Bret said...

My observations are that religious entities generally try to strengthen and support families.

However, my observations also are that if part or all of the family decides to leave the religious entity, then I think at least some clergy would rather sacrifice that family unit if they can keep part of the family in the congregation.

Clovis e Adri said...


Commandment 5: "Honour thy father and thy mother". Way older than Marx.


My observation is that religious entities that jeopardize family bonds are not healthy, at least to my own definition of healthy.

On the study in case though, family bonds are weak (if existent at all) and is probably the main reason their numbers are above white noise.

erp said...

Commandments are way older than Christianity too and Jews don't call their religious leaders Father, Mother, Sister or Brother, they call them Rabbi (teacher/scholar).

... but in any case, it's semantics again. Honor your mother and your father is interpreted to mean honor tradition ... and has nothing to do with self-appointed mothers and fathers in the form of clergy.

Maintaining the "family" long past its being anything close to our idea of what one should be, is one of the many mistakes of the modern welfare state which puts the most innocent and helpless among us in the greatest jeopardy by allowing those proven to be unable or unwilling to care for their children the where-with-all to continue their abuse instead of removing them from danger and either finding real foster care or establishing home-like orphanages where they can be taken of safely in a loving and caring environment. Take it from one who has seen first hand how babies are bandied about for profit -- it makes me yearn for Dickensian work houses and orphanages.

Clovis e Adri said...


Honour your father and your mother is interpreted as honour your father and your mother. Tradition is something else.

And you complain about semantics...

erp said...

I don't believe it's interpreted that narrowly, but even so, my take on clergy doesn't change.