You may have heard of a recent study by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber linking church attendance to increased wealth. As the news story from Economist.com reports:
Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims that regular religious participation leads to better education, higher income and a lower chance of divorce. His results (based on data covering non-Hispanic white Americans of several Christian denominations, other faiths and none) imply that doubling church attendance raises someone’s income by almost 10%.
Many people look at this news and think of the 10% gain for church attendance – but isn’t it a 10% for each doubling of attendance? Compared to the average, Mormons not only go to church on many more Sundays, but also for much longer thanks to the 3-hour block. That’s double double double double . . . so are you all rich yet?
I hope the Gruber study, as interesting as it may be, doesn’t become part of our missionary pitch: “We offer you the highest return on your tithing of any Church.”
I find the possible reasons for the correlation to be especially interesting. I wonder if a similar study should be done to also include the effect of tithing coupled with active attendance. Most of us are familiar with a number of practical reasons why these two can correlate with temporal success – all of which is only of minor importance in the eternal scheme of things, but still interesting.