Religion and earnings: evidence from Germany

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Publication details

Sinnewe, E, Kortt, M & Steen, T 2016, 'Religion and earnings: evidence from Germany', Journal of Social Economics, vol. 43, no. 8, pp. 841-855.

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The purpose of this paper is to estimate the association between religious affiliation and the rate of return to human capital for German men and women.


This paper employs data from the 1997, 2003, 2007 and 2011 waves of the German Socio-Economic Panel for German men and women in full-time employment between the age of 25 and 54. The association between religious affiliation and wages was estimated using a conventional human capital model.


This paper finds that Catholic men (women) received a wage premium of 4 per cent (3 per cent) relative to their Protestant counterparts, even after controlling for an extensive range of demographic, economic and social characteristics.


The study contributes to the literature by providing – to the best of the authors’ knowledge – the first results on the wage premium received by Catholic men and women in the German labour market.