Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Pew Study on the Gender Gap in Religion

The Pew Research Center has just published on its website a 100+ page report titled "The Gender Gap in Religion Around the World."  You can download the complete report in pdf here and also view the overview here.

Some of the findings include:
  1. In general around the world, women are more likely than men to affiliate with a religion.  Around the world, 83.4% of women report religious affiliation, while 79.9% of men report affiliation.  There are no countries in which men are more religiously affiliated than women.
  2. Gender differences in worship attendance vary across religious groups.  Among Christians, women attend more often, but men attend more often among Muslims and Orthodox Jews.
  3. In general, women report praying daily at higher rates than men.  Only in Israel does a higher proportion of men than women report praying daily.
  4. Religion is equally or more important to women than men in most countries.  Only in Israel and Mozambique do men report higher rates of religion being important.
  5. Women and men about equally likely to believe in heaven, hell, and angels.  There are some differences across countries.
  6. The gender gap is wide in the United States, and it is wider in the U.S. than in Canada and the U.K.  Religiosity is also higher on average for both men and women in the U.S. than in Canada and the U.K.
  7. The gender gap in religion appears to be correlated with labor force participation.  Women that work report lower levels of religiosity than women that do not work, and the gender gap is smaller in countries where the labor force participation gap between men and women is also smaller.
  8. However, even after controlling for labor force participation, there is still a gender gap.  Combining this point with point 7 above lends support to the conclusion that the gender gap in religion is due to both "nature" and "nurture."

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Blue Laws for Alcohol in Minnesota

A guest post from TA Cody Nehiba:

Blue laws restrict various activities on certain days of the week.  Generally, they restrict secular activities on a particular religions day of worship.  As previously discussed in sections, Minnesota is one of twelve states that restrict the sale of alcohol on Sundays.  This ban on Sunday sales attempts to reduce the value of secular activities, and increase the number of people attending churches on Sunday.  Many in Minnesota want these blue laws to be repealed, but they're finding the strongest supporters of the law aren't religious leaders, they're actually liquor store owners.  These business owners believe if they are open seven days a week they will end up losing money as the demand for alcohol would remain relatively unchanged.    See this article from 2014.

Do you think that blue laws should be repealed?  They may have been created with favoritism towards a particular religion in mind, but they have actually helped some secular businesses.

Do you think these blue laws increase church attendance in Minnesota? 

Note that the article is a couple years old.  A law was more recently passed in MN that partially repealed the ban on Sunday alcohol sales.  Craft breweries are now allowed to sell "Growlers" on Sundays.