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Evaluating the return on religious capital in the Russian labor market

Vol. 19, Iss. 9, SEPTEMBER 2020

Received: 3 August 2020

Received in revised form: 15 August 2020

Accepted: 30 August 2020

Available online: 29 September 2020


JEL Classification: J24, J31, Z12, Z13

Pages: 1671–1694


Mel'nikov R.M. Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), Moscow, Russian Federation


Subject. The article addresses the impact of religious confession on wages and the likelihood of unemployment in Russia.
Objectives. The aim is to test the hypothesis that religious faith and high church attendance are accompanied by an increase in employment earnings.
Methods. Using the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey data, I estimate the Mincer's extended equation with variables that characterize the respondent’s religious commitment. To assess the impact of religious identity and the activity rate of attendance at religious services on the likelihood of unemployment and life satisfaction, I use probit models.
Results. The estimates demonstrate that the Russian labor market rewards men with moderate and high degree of religious commitment; their wage growth reaches seventeen percent of the level of non-believers with comparable education and work experience. However, faithful Muslim women are employed in the lowest paid areas. Religious faith and regular church attendance have a positive effect on satisfaction with life (significant for Orthodox Christian women).
Conclusions. Positive impact of religious capital on income and employment can be attributed to the development of business qualities that are rewarded in the labor market, the mutual support of religious network participants. Therefore, it possible to consider religious capital, along with educational capital and health capital, as a component of human capital and a factor of socio-economic development.

Keywords: economics of religion, religious capital, human capital, labor market, subjective well being


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