Pay or Pray

Pay or Pray

Pay or pray? While it seems logical that people who donate to religious institutions would also attend religious services, just the opposite is true, according to research findings compiled by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber. Gruber based his conclusions on data derived from over three decades of the General Social Survey and the Consumer Expenditure Survey. His findings reveal that rather than being complementary, religious giving and religious attendance are often substitutes for one another. In a one-page abstract of a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Gruber argues that, because his findings could have a negative impact on religious participation, they pose "important implications for the debate over charitable subsidies" to faith-based programs and activities.