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The Benefits of Religion

A new study by Angus Deaton uses an expansive dataset to analyze the determinants and benefits of religiosity around the world. Deaton confirms that women and the elderly are almost universally more religious. He also finds evidence that higher religiosity among the elderly may be due to aging effects as opposed to simply secularization of younger generations. Religious people view themselves as more fit, reporting better health, more energy, and less pain. (Perhaps prayer is a substitute for complaining?) They’re also less likely to smoke and more likely to be married, have supportive friends, and be treated with respect. Other economists have linked religiosity with voting and counteracting the effects of childhood poverty. [%comments]