Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Joel Potter

Abstract

Economics is the study of how people make decisions, and oftentimes those decisions revolve around accumulating tangible goods in order to maximize personal happiness (i.e. utility). However, accumulating intangible goods also affects happiness, such as participating in religious life. This project is to determine if there is a correlation between participating in spiritual life and self-reported happiness. This research adds to the growing body of studies done on this topic by using the General Social Survey to measure degrees of happiness, religion, and related variables. It involves the use of an ordered probit regression and pairwise correlations to gauge the connection between the variables. I have conducted statistical analysis on my original thesis population: college-aged students from 18-24. Previous research has often shown a positive correlation between the variables when using the standard measures of happiness and religiosity. When using lesser-known measures, this research finds the correlation is less often positive, and sometimes negative.

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