Religiously-Inspired Baby Boom: A Case Study of Georgia (R&R)


We study the persuasive impacts of religious authority figures on fertility decisions. We do so in the context of Georgia where in December 2007, in a move to boost the declining fertility rates, the Georgian Orthodox Church’s Patriarch began to personally baptise third or higher parity child. Using synthetic control method and interrupted time series analysis we find suggestive evidence of higher fertility rates post 2008. Encouraged by macro evidence, using micro-data we exploit exogenous variation in birth timing and the religion and ethnicity of the mother to measure short and long run causal impact of religious persuasion. We find that the announcement significantly increased the probability of giving birth by 2 percentage points. Using quantile and counterfactual density estimation we find that this increase was not driven by higher parity fertility but by first and second births.

Neha Deopa