|Title||The Sacred Enterprise: Religion and attitudes toward work and retirement in the United States|
|Year of Publication||2008|
|Keywords||Demographics, Employment and Labor Force, Retirement Planning and Satisfaction|
Weberian theory suggests that ascetic forms of Protestantism provided the ingredients required for the birth of capitalism in the West. This same theory links doctrinal and behavioral aspects of these religious groups to improved economic outcomes. In 1961, Gerhard Lenski tested these theories against individual attitudes, and a relationship was identified that supported Weber's theories. Since Lenski's study was conducted, dramatic religious and economic changes have unfolded in the United States that may indicate that a process of secularization has ensued. This study follows Lenski's example in testing Weber's theoretical construct using updated methods and data unavailable in 1961. Using data from Wave 1 (1992) of the Health and Retirement Study, this study tests the effect of religious affiliation upon economic attitudes as defined by the age of desired retirement and attitudes toward work. The sample is restricted to men active in the workforce in 1992. The multi-method design follows two stages. First, historical comparative analysis is used to identify trends and transitions in religion and the economy within the United States across the Twentieth Century. The second stage is comprised of two analyses--multi-level random coefficient analysis for the study of the effects of religion upon retirement attitudes, and logistic regression for the study of the effects of religion upon work attitudes. The qualitative and quantitative components of this study are used to inform one another, and to allow the statistical findings to be accurately placed within their historical context. The study finds that religion has little to no influence upon attitudes toward retirement. Findings in the analysis of religion and work indicate a weak relationship between religion and work attitudes that is mediated by the presence of other factors such as health status, age and the level of anticipated Social Security benefits. In both analyses, level of commitment indicates a suppressive effect. Ultimately, changes in the religious and economic experience of Americans, the social institution of retirement, and in population structures have led to a process of secularization which restricted religion's influence upon economic attitudes as of 1992 for working men in the United States.
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|Short Title||The Sacred Enterprise: Religion and attitudes toward work and retirement in the United States|