Three essays concerning religion and domestic behavior



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In the first essay, I demonstrate that during the 1970s, the marital behavior of US Catholics changed dramatically relative to that of the total population. The Catholic marriage rate, that is, the number of Catholic marriages per 1000 Catholics, decreased nearly 20 percent relative to the civil marriage rate. Before and after this time period, the two rates moved in unison. Empirically, I find that the Catholic reforms and encyclicals of the 1960s, that is, Vatican II and Humanae Vitae, led to a decrease in the Catholic marriage rate relative to the civil marriage rate and that the reform of civil divorce law had no effect on this relative rate. In the second essay, I expand the analysis of the previous essay and test whether a negative response among US Catholics to the reforms of Vatican II and to Humanae Vitae is able to explain the increase in the civil marriage rate, the decrease in the Catholic marriage rate, and the increase in the interfaith marriage rate seen in the data. To do this, I construct an original model that treats marriage as a set of two contracts, one civil and one religious, with the benefit and cost of the religious contract depending upon a social complementarity. The theory and the data match if the primary effect of 1960s Catholic reform was to decrease the benefit of a Catholic marriage. In the third essay, I examine the link between religiosity and the incidence of domestic abuse and model sanctification as the pathway connecting the two. Sanctification is "a psychological process through which aspects of life are perceived by people as having spiritual character or significance"[25]. In the model, the abuser must his choose level of abuse, and both abuser and abused must allocate a scarce amount of time between the production of a marital good and a personal consumption good. Sanctification is modeled as an increase in the return to time invested in the marital good. Theoretically, abuse increases in both spouses' level of sanctification and the wife's productivity and decreases in the husband's productivity. This partially agrees with the data.