Journal Article

Enforcing Family Values? The Effects of Marital Status on Clergy Earnings

Patricia M.Y. Chang and Paul Perl

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 60, issue 4, pages 403-417
Published in print January 1999 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 1999 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
Enforcing Family Values? The Effects of Marital Status on Clergy Earnings

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This paper examines the effects of marital status on the earnings of Protestant clergy, paying particular attention to how gender mediates the effects of marriage and divorce. In Protestant denominations, we find that marriage has a positive effect on earnings for men, but not for women. We also find results that challenge the hypothesis that these extra earnings are indirect compensation for the “pastor's wife,” who traditionally acts as an unpaid staff person when the pastor is hired. We find no difference between earnings of married men whose wives work full-time outside the church and those whose wives stay at home and support their husband's church activities. Interestingly, divorce does not depress earnings for men and has a positive effect on the earnings of women, relative to married women. The analysis suggests that divorced women tend to work more paid hours than married women. Analyses of clergy in conservative denominations reveal no negative effects of divorce on earnings. However, this may be due to the small number of divorced clergy in these conservative denominations. In general, these analyses shed light on how the relationships among marriage, family, and work in clergy occupations differ for men and women.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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