Faculty Sponsor: Shyam Gouri Suresh
This study uses data for commuting zones in the United States to analyze the relationship between the religious participation rate and the economic mobility in that commuting zone, as well as other important control variables, such as racial segregation, income segregation, social capital, etc. While there are many complex factors that affect economic mobility, I chose to look at how the fraction of people who are religious in a commuting zone affects that commuting zone’s economic mobility. Because being religious involves being a part of a community of people who are from different backgrounds and may live very different lives (socially, economically, etc.) but all have one common interest or connection (i.e. their religion), I see this as an opportunity for valuable social capital. Also, being religious can give one hope for the future and that there is a divine being who is on their side, so possibly this hope could be reflected in their economic mobility through their motivation and belief that they can move up socioeconomically. Therefore, I hypothesize that, as the fraction of the population who is religious increases, the economic mobility measure will increase. Using confidence intervals, the results show that fraction religious has a positive marginal effect on expected economic mobility, holding all other included variables constant, for values of racial segregation under about 0.5.