Secular Outcomes and the Importance of Intergenerational Investments of Human and Social Forms of Capital: Does Religion Make a Difference?

Dawn S. Hurst, Ohio State University
Frank Mott, Ohio State University

The American Jewish population, on average, is more highly educated, holds higher prestigious jobs, and nets a higher household income than the overall U.S. population (United Jewish Communities Report 2000). Consequently, the recently released National Jewish Population Survey is an excellent data source for elucidating the importance of religious versus non-religious factors on secular outcomes (such as education and occupation). In this research, we examine Jewish Americans to assess whether earlier manifestations of religious-linked behaviors in childhood and adolescence translate into socially and/or economically productive behaviors in adulthood as a direct result of intergenerational investments and exchanges within the family and sub-community. We hypothesize, and preliminary findings suggest, that youth who are sufficiently exposed to both religious and non-religious activities will more effectively operate in a social and economic adult world than will those whose upbringing was more within an exclusively religious or exclusively secular world.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Families, Parenting, Adolescents, and Children