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  • P-ISSN 2586-2995
  • E-ISSN 2586-4130

KDI Journal of Economic Policy. Vol. 40, No. 1, February 2018, pp. 31-43

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Can Religion Save Our Health?: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the U.S.†


Author & Article History

Manuscript received 15 October 2017; revision received 31 October 2017; accepted 30 January 2018.


There is a large amount of empirical literature reporting that people who regularly attend religious services tend to have better health outcomes. However, it remains an unanswered question as to whether the observed correlation reflects any causality. Exploiting exogenous changes in church attendance driven by law changes in 21 states of the U.S., I find tentative but suggestive evidence that the observed strong correlation between religious participation and health is likely to be driven by endogenous selection.


U.S., Religious Participation, Subjective Health, Blue Law, Causal Inference, Instrumental Variable

JEL Code

I18, Z12, K20

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