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Working paper

Religiosity and Life Satisfaction in Russia: Evidence from the Russian Data

Economics/EC. WP BRP 180. National Research University Higher School of Economics, 2017
Maksym Bryukhanov, Igor Fedotenkov.
Does religiosity make you happy? Many studies document positive associations between religiosity and various forms of subjective wellbeing. This is also true for general life satisfaction in normal economic conditions and in the case of economic shocks. However, both life satisfaction and religiosity may be correlated with unobserved individual and household traits or unobserved life shocks which can relate to reverse causality. These facts result in endogeneity and make ordinary least square estimates biased. In our study, we employ two methods to avoid possible endogeneity issues – we use fixed effects and instrumental variable estimations. Using Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS-HSE) data and different econometric models, we document positive associations between religiosity and life satisfaction. In particular, fixed effect and instrumental variable regressions provide evidence for a positive effect of religiosity.