Happiness and Religion

20 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2015

See all articles by Jan Fidrmuc

Jan Fidrmuc

L.E.M., Université de Lille; Brunel University - Department of Economics and Finance; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Global Labor Organization (GLO); Institute for Strategy and Analysis, Government Office of the Slovak Republic

Cigdem Börke Tunali

Istanbul University

Date Written: July 27, 2015

Abstract

We use four ways of the European Social Survey, covering 2000 to 2008, to analyze the effect of religion on happiness. Our findings confirm that religious individuals are generally happier than non-religious ones. When we seek to disentangle the effects of belonging to an organized religion from the effect of holding religious beliefs, we find that the former lowers happiness while the latter raises it. We interpret this as evidence that the tangible aspects of religion (such as abiding by restrictions on consumption and behavior) decrease happiness while the spiritual aspects increase it. We also find important differences among members of different religious denominations, and between men and women, with females more adversely affected by the tangible aspects of belonging to a religion.

Keywords: religion, happiness

JEL Classification: I310, Z120

Suggested Citation

Fidrmuc, Jan and Tunali, Cigdem Börke, Happiness and Religion (July 27, 2015). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5437, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2636221

Jan Fidrmuc (Contact Author)

L.E.M., Université de Lille ( email )

France

Brunel University - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

Uxbridge UB8 3PH
United Kingdom
+44 1895 266 528 (Phone)
+44 1895 269 770 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Global Labor Organization (GLO) ( email )

Collogne
Germany

Institute for Strategy and Analysis, Government Office of the Slovak Republic ( email )

Bratislava
Slovakia

Cigdem Börke Tunali

Istanbul University ( email )

34459 Istanbul
Turkey

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