Behavioral Consequences of Religious Schooling

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I investigate how long-term exposure to religious schooling affects economic behavior of children. To identify the effect of religious schooling, I study residential schools for orphans in Bangladesh that differ in terms of religious curriculum and social environment, limit transmission of beliefs and preferences from parents to children following being orphaned, make social learning by children limited after school enrollment, and mitigate issues concerning endogenous school choice by parents. Using a lab-in-the-field experiment in this school setting, I measure children’s behavior and find that (i) children receiving religious education are more altruistic and honest relative to children receiving secular education; (ii) religious schooling does not affect risk aversion, cooperation, trust, and trustworthiness of children; and, (iii) behavioral differences are driven by children who are around puberty and have completed primary education. These findings provide useful insights into how long-term exposure to religious schooling can affect behavior – possibly by shifting preferences – during childhood and adolescence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103237
JournalJournal of Development Economics
Early online date14 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

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