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Can schools change religious attitudes? Evidence from German state reforms of compulsory religious education

  • We study whether compulsory religious education in schools affects students' religiosity as adults. We exploit the staggered termination of compulsory religious education across German states in models with state and cohort fixed effects. Using three different datasets, we find that abolishing compulsory religious education significantly reduced religiosity of affected students in adulthood. It also reduced the religious actions of personal prayer, church-going, and church membership. Beyond religious attitudes, the reform led to more equalized gender roles, fewer marriages and children, and higher labor-market participation and earnings. The reform did not affect ethical and political values or non-religious school outcomes.

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Author of HS ReutlingenZierow, Larissa
Erschienen in:IZA Discussion Papers
Publisher:Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH
Place of publication:Bonn
Document Type:Working Paper
Publication year:2022
Tag:religiosity; religious education; school reforms
Page Number:83
DDC classes:370 Erziehung, Schul- und Bildungswesen
Open access?:Ja
Licence (German):License Logo  Open Access