The prominent economist Angus Deaton has done a new empirical study of the benefits of religion. Freakonomics has the story:
Deaton uses an expansive dataset to analyze the determinants and benefits of religiosity around the world. .... Religious people view themselves as more fit, reporting better health, more energy, and less pain. .... They’re also less likely to smoke and more likely to be married, have supportive friends, and be treated with respect. Other economists have linked religiosity with voting and counteracting the effects of childhood poverty.Deaton's study is here.
Speaking of the effects of childhood poverty, a heated discussion has flared this weekend between several major economists who blog. Under the heading "The Inheritance of Education," Alex Tabarrok points to the discussion amongst heavyweights Greg Mankiw, Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong, and adds his own analysis. [Addendum: Check out this remarkable graph. "[A]dopted kids' test scores against their biological father's income and ... is almost as steep as for non-adoptees."]