Dr. Patrick Fagan of Marripedia offers concise summaries of two important recent works — one from two scholars at Harvard and one from Cal State Long Beach — who marshal mountains of data that demonstrate the solid connection between strong religious faith, strong marriages, and strong economic prosperty.
I had the privilege of working with Pat for six years at the Heritage Foundation when I was teaching journalists how to do computer-assisted reporting. I know him to be a scholar of the first rank and a man unalterably committed to the truth
These are important works for Hill staffers involved in shaping government policies toward families, economics and societal expectations:
Faith, Families and Prosperity Are Inter-related
A 2019 book entitled “The Wealth of Religions: The Political Economy of Believing and Belonging” by Harvard’s Rachel M. McCleary and Robert J. Barro asserts the economic value of religion by exploring the extent to which religious beliefs motivate people to be economically productive.
Gathering data on levels of religiosity in church attendance and in spiritual beliefs about the afterlife, the authors found such religiosity to be a very strong motivation for living a good productive life. Among churchgoers, they found a positive relationship between belief in an afterlife and economic growth and advancement.
Intact Married Families and Christianity are Foundations for Economic Prosperity
One of the most prolific researchers and writers on the social science of marriage and religion is Professor William Jeynes of Cal State Long Beach.
His chapter “The Two Biological Parent Family, Christianity , and Economic Prosperity” in The Wiley Handbook of Christianity and Education (2018) shows that Christianity, by encouraging marriage, marital fidelity and the raising of children, while exhorting parents to love, care, and serve their children so that they can turn into responsible and loving adults, supports a system that fosters income and savings in individual families and in the nation as a whole.
It further shows that nations that enjoyed the highest standard of living and the most advanced cultures since 1100 A.D., found an unmistakable pattern of the flourishing of Christianity, cultural advancement, and economic prosperity.