Posts Tagged ‘economics’

The high cost of service: Student debt burdens religious workers

As long as the money from federal loans rolls in, many seminarians find it hard to think ahead to how they are going to pay back the $40,000, $60,000 or $80,000 or more that is their chunk of a student debt tab that has reached $1 trillion. Yet what began as a critical problem for a small percentage of prospective clergy is reaching alarming levels as seminary students get swept up in a national crisis, new research indicates. It is not enough that growing numbers of clergy with burdensome loans report having to put off for years the ability to get married and start a family or buy a house. Now, graduates wanting to explore a religious vocation may be “too poor to take the vow of poverty,” one research center commented.

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Take this job and love it: Faith plays role in workplace satisfaction

Pay. Benefits. Opportunities for advancement. These are some of the major considerations people take into account in choosing where to work. Now, employers can add another factor: Faith. An increasing body of research suggests that faith plays a major role in the workplace, from being an indicator of how long employees will stay at one company to how well they do in their jobs.

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Absence of faith: Religion, taxes and the U.S. financial crisis

The nation is hovering near financial crisis. More and more Americans are falling into poverty. Universal health care, Social Security and Medicare have become political bargaining chips. But many Americans have decided only the wealthiest of the wealthy bear responsibility for paying higher taxes. Religious groups would seem to be in a strong position to raise ethical questions about individual responsibility for the common good. Yet research indicates that faith groups have a mixed record in getting people to share their wealth and possessions with their neighbors in need.

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‘Free riders’ and the recession: Churches face hard economic choices attracting new members

Is there a Groupon solution for houses of worship? Congregations struggling to emerge from the recession may be leery of encouraging “free riders,” individuals who use church services without paying the costs of providing those goods. But while attracting new members with free or reduced-price services may be risky investments, allowing some free riding also is necessary for the future of the church, some scholars conclude.

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Don’t Stop Thinking about the Money

Does placing time, talent and treasure in spiritual pursuits pay off? For many people, the answer is yes. Among the findings of recent studies in religion and economics, researchers report that children whose parents were observant tended to stay in school longer and get better jobs and that the poor in particular find religion a beneficial use of their time. Faith also extends to financial matters, with investors in religious mutual funds being less likely to react to market volatility even with lower returns than secular funds. There also is an economic downside for religious groups, however. Studies indicated that a rise in the welfare state contributed to steep declines in religiosity among some Western democracies and that the well-off are more likely than their less fortunate brethren to spend time at work and play than at prayer.

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