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Summary for Angus Deaton Article

4 pages27 viewsWinter 2011

Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC246H1
Professor
William Magee

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SOC246
7. Angus S. Deaton (2009)
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Angus S. Deaton (2009)- Aging, Religion, and Health
Abstract
- used data (nationally representative samples) from the Gallup World Poll to study the within and
between country relationships between religiosity, age, and gender
between more than 140 countries using more than 300,000 observations
covers more countries, in particular poor countries in Africa (vs. World Values Surveys)
excludes China because no questions on religiosity and religious attendance
- the effects of religiosity on a range of health measures and health-related behaviors
- almost universally true that the elderly and women are more religious
- there is evidence in favor of a genuine aging effect, not simply a cohort effect associated with
secularization
- in most countries, religious people report better health (more energy, experience less pain); social lives
and personal behaviors are also healthier
more likely to be married, have supportive friends, being treated with respect
have greater confidence in the healthcare and medical system, less likely to smoke
- these effects do not all hold in all countries and are stronger for men than women
Introduction
- random national samples of individuals from 146 countries to investigate both the determinants of
religion and its effects on health
- secularization theory: predicts elderly should be more religious, argues that successive cohorts become
less religious
- economic theory of intertemporal choice and capital formation: predicts that people become more
religious as they grow older
- aims of paper: (1) document international patterns of how religiosity varies with age and gender, and to
produce evidence on the secularization versus aging stories; (2) explore the relationship between
religiosity and health
- simple triangular causal structure: religiosity and religious practice are caused by income, education,
age, and sex & health is caused by religion, income, education, age, and sex
reasons why this might be wrong: 1) poor health might cause people to turn to religion, 2) there
could be third factors such as rates of time preference that affect both religiosity and health
- World Poll provides support for 1) secularization theory- older people are more religious, 2) more
educated better-off people are less likely to be religious 3) economic theory[s prediction of pure age
effects
2. Religiosity, age and other factors
- secularization theory: the idea that religious belief and practice will decline over time with economic
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