Church attendance, faith and the allocation of time: evidence from Australia

Document Type


Publication details

Kortt, MA, Steen, T & Sinnewe, E 2017, 'Church attendance, faith and the allocation of time: evidence from Australia', International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 44, no. 12, pp. 2112-21127.

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the determinants of church attendance and the formation of “religious human capital” using a Becker-inspired allocation-of-time framework.

Design/methodology/approach – Data derived from three waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey were used to estimate a reduced-form two-equation system where the endogenous variables were frequency of attendance at religious services and intensity of faith.

Findings – The results indicate that while the hourly wage rate accounts for some of the variation in the attendance and faith regressions (i.e. higher wages lead to lower levels of attendance and faith), “allocation of time” variables like working long hours also influence these dimensions. The findings also suggest that the decision to attend or not or to have any faith at all is generally independent from economic factors. However, once the decision to attend or to have faith is made, an individual’s wage influences the degree of attendance or faith to a significant level.

Originality/value – The study contributes to this embryonic body of empirical literature by providing – to the best of the authors’ knowledge – the first results for Australia.

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