Girls who go to church work harder

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Growing up, I was made to go to church every week without fail. The experience left me with deep psychological scars. Here’s one, according to a new study: having gone to church regularly apparently makes me work harder.

Researchers at the University of Georgia found that women who had attended religious services frequently (at least once a week) during childhood work about 80 additional hours per year when they are older. This effect is roughly equivalent to the impact on labor supply of an additional year of labor market experience.

A whole extra year! But at least I was raised a lazy Catholic. Worse off are my Protestant sisters:

Among Protestant women, the effect on annual hours worked of frequent religious participation when young is almost twice that amount.

Economics prof Ron Warren of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, who conducted the study along with colleague Chris Cornwell and Terry alumna Karen Tinsley, a researcher in UGA’s Housing and Demographics Research Center, speculates that

religious observance when young may give women a direction or “calling” to their personal conduct as adults, including a grea
ter focus on market work. “Religious participation in childhood may instill
a work ethic that is driven by early religious training, beliefs, or practice,” he says.

And guilt. Don’t forget the guilt.