Study: Catholic men are better paid

Okay.  Show me the money.


Catholicism, with all its attendant ceremony, piety and guilt, may well trump a good Protestant work ethic when it comes to earnings potential, according to the authors of a new study.

Catholic men between 25 and 54 years were found to benefit from a wage premium of 6.7 per cent compared with men who reported a Protestant affiliation, an analysis of the Household, Income Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey found.

The Southern Cross University senior economics lecturer Michael Kortt, who conducted the study in conjunction with the University of New England professor Brian Dollery, said no statistically significant spike was observed between Protestants and any other group, including those with no religious affiliation.

Dr Kortt said there were two possible explanations for the research findings, published in the journal Applied Economics Letters, including a greater productivity pay-off for being Catholic. ”That is, it suggests that being raised a Catholic male it might actually instil in a person a series of characteristics such as discipline, which may be rewarded by the labour market,” he said.

Employers might also screen for unobservable qualities they associate with the religion through other characteristics, such as a Catholic-sounding surname, he said. ”They may associate Catholic men with having certain desirable traits such as trustworthiness or a strong work ethic and so on,” he said.

Read the rest.


  1. The line at the end suggested that a higher percentage of Catholics lived in urban locations which would lead to higher income. How about location in the country? Fewer Catholics live in southeastern states, many of which have lower per capita incomes than other parts of the country.

  2. That’s interesting. It doesn’t say if the study factored in geographic location. Catholics are more concentrated in the northeast, which is a high cost area and therefore have a higher salary scale.

    Just noticed it. I’m saying a very similar thing as Will says above me.

  3. “Catholicism, with all its attendant ceremony, piety and guilt”

    Nice snarky comment to begin an article. I read no further.

  4. Deacon Marv Robertson says:

    I recall reading years ago, that Catholics applying to work for the FBI in the earlier days of the “Cold War” were given an edge because of the Church’s opposition to Communism and the vicious persecution of Catholics behind the “Iron Curtain.”
    Of course, this is ancient history now.

  5. In addition to the lack of controls for geography, there is also the study a few years back that showed converts to Catholicism having on average a college degree level education, with many holding master degrees, while people leaving the Church had a high school level education. That’s always intrigued me. Whether or not it factors into this study’s findings, it definitely correlates.

  6. friscoeddie says:

    When J Edgar Hoover was asked why the FBI did not recruit from Ivy league colleges like the CIA, he said he liked men from Fordham, they know how to take orders.. not so sure that’s a compliment, considering

  7. I’d be interested in an ethnic/racial cross-section of the data, as well. I’m thinking of the disproportionate number of African Americans who live in poverty who would more likely claim a Protestant upbringing. Or how many of those polled are among Latino (typically Catholic) immigrants? If these were accurately represented, I’d be willing to bet that this statistical finding will disappear in a few years as the Latino Catholic immigrant populations’ lower earnings are factored in.

  8. Gerard

    Do you have a URL link or a hard-copy reference I can check and copy for my own work?

  9. I’m Catholic and I’m getting married next month and I have a question reg. music. If anyone has been married in the Church, do you remember how many songs were needed and for what purposes? I know, bridal party processional, bride processional, the ave maria for flower offering, music during communion and the recessional…anything else? Thanks!.

  10. Deacon Norb says:

    Hmmm. I do about five-six simple wedding ceremonies a year.

    –Required songs ? None. You can do a perfectly acceptable Simple Wedding ceremony in our church and have no music at all.

    –COMMONLY used in a simple ceremony: Prelude (5-6 songs); Main processional march; Bridal processional march; Psalm Response (if not recited); Meditation instrumental during the Candle Ceremony; Recessional.

    –Optional in a simple ceremony (and I certainly do not do these three more than once in twenty weddings): Alleluia Verse at the start of the Gospel; Plainsong Congregational Our Father (Catholic liturgists discourage soloist singing the Our Father); Meditation song (Often Schubert’s Ave Maria) during the “Roses on Mary’s altar” side ceremony.

    NOW, if the ceremony is included within a Nuptial Mass, one follows the liturgical/musical protocol of a Mass FIRST. You can — but are not obliged to — have meditative instrumental music during either of these two OPTIONAL ceremonies: (1) The Unity Candle Ceremony; and (2) the Presentation of the Roses to Lady Mary’s altar. Check with your presider (Priest or Deacon) about what is the practice in your area.

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