Presentation on theme: "Religiosity and Happiness: an ever-Winning Couple? An Answer from India Matteo Migheli (University of Eastern Piedmont) New Directions in Welfare Paris."— Presentation transcript:
Religiosity and Happiness: an ever-Winning Couple? An Answer from India Matteo Migheli (University of Eastern Piedmont) New Directions in Welfare Paris (OCSE), 5th – 8th July 2011
Religiosity and happiness Several works study the relationship between religious attitudes and happiness. In particular the extant literature shows that: religious people are happier than non religious people (Chamberlain and Zika, 1988; Ellison et al.; 1989, Ellison, 1991) also in transition countries (Lelkes, 2006) places of worship facilitate social relationships, and hence happiness (Witter et al., 1985 and Hayo, 2007) participation in religious organizations and services contributes to community integration and happiness (Ferriss, 2002) The possibility of choosing the preferred denomination freely increases individual happiness (Iannaccone et al., 1997 and Barro and McClearly, 2001)
Religiosity and happiness Barro and McClearly (2001) argue that multireligious societies enhance happiness. However Mookerjee and Beron (2005) show that religious fragmentation is responsible for a decrease in individual happiness, in accordance with Montalvo and Reynal- Querol (2003) The existing literature seems to suggest that religiosity generally fosters happiness, even though fragmentation is an obstacle for it. However some empirical evidence shows that also in presence of fragmentation the positive link between religion and happiness holds (Swinyard et al., 2001 and Francis et al., 2004). The aim of this paper is to analyze this puzzle, in order to try to better understand it.
Aim of the paper This paper tries to show that religiosity enhances happiness unless the individual is member of a minority denomination AND this is source of discrimination (and persecution) by the members of the majority denomination(s). Otherwise religiosity is actually source of happiness. This paper analyzes the Indian situation because India: is one of the riches countries of the world in terms of religious denominations is the historical theatre of two of the most important cases of religious discrimination in the world (Sikhs and Muslims)
Religious conflict(s) in contemporary India Hindus vs. Muslims conflict this is the most relevant religious conflict in India, involving a very large number of people the conflict results in periodic episodes of violence and discrimination against the minority group the existence of extremist political parties against both the Hindus and the Muslims contribute to worsening the situation Hindus vs. Sikhs conflict: this is a (almost totally) solved conflict the solution is partially equal to the one adopted for the Muslims the situation of Punjab provides some robustness to the major hypothesis of the paper
Data and metodology The World Value Survey provides the largest majority of the data used here. All the four waves of the survey are used Happiness is recorded as a four-digit variable Hence an ordered probit analysis is used Before showing that the Muslims (and only them) are less happy than the Hindus, I show that they are discriminated in terms of wages
Controls Religious affiliation Importance of religion Share of religion X in state Y Education Income Employment status Marital status Age
Results: Highlights Muslim and Jewish are less happy than the members to other religions The larger the share of Muslims in a federated state population, the less happy a Muslim is The Sikhs living in Punjab (where they are the predominant religious group) are happier than the Hindus. They are not significantly happier or more unhappy than the Hindus outside Punjab These results are consistent with the literature on polarisation. The result for the Catholics is positive, weakly significant. This may be due to their concentration in the former French and Portuguese territories. The more religion is important, the happier the person.
Results: Highlights Education fosters happiness Married people are happier than the others The unemployed are less happy than the employed. Happiness decreases with age.
Conclusions Together with the extant literature this study shows that: belonging to a discriminated minority group is source of unhappiness the simple fact of being member of a minority group does not affect happiness: discrimination caused by the membership does hence religious fragmentation is not per se sufficient to produce a reduction of happiness there are factors which affect happiness in the long run: happiness is not just contingent Being member of a locally major group is source of happiness (see the case of the Sikhs)