Does education secularize the Islamic population? The effect of years of schooling on religiosity, voting, and pluralism in Indonesia

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17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The association between schooling and religious beliefs has been widely documented in the social science literature. Evidence of a causal relationship is, however, limited, particularly in developing countries where religion still plays a significant role in politics and legislation. To bridge this gap in the literature, the present study uses the across cohort variations in the exposure to 1978 education reform in Indonesia to examine the impact of completed years of education on individual religiosity in later life. The results suggest that attaining another year of schooling reduces self-reported religiousness by four percentage points. Consistent with this finding, it also changes solitary religious acts by reducing the number of times individuals pray and the likelihood that they eat only halal food. Educational attainment, however, has little effect on participation in social religious activities or attitude toward other faiths, although it does reduce the religious influence on voting behavior. These results suggest that a program promoting educational attainment in Islamic countries may have an important impact on individual's religiosity and country's political economy in the long run.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104915
JournalWorld Development
Volume130
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Education
  • Indonesia
  • Islam
  • Religion
  • Voting behavior

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