In the discipline of forensic economics, religion as a variable that affects a person’s earning potential is not recognized. In particular, the projection of a person’s earnings in a wrongful death, adolescent child injury, or personal injury, where there is limited earnings history (together the “injured”), is predicated mainly on the work history and educational background of the parents, and the application of average wage data based upon race, gender, age, education and occupation. In particular, many forensic economists spend considerable time projecting the injured’s future earnings based exclusively on the probability of achieving a certain level of education, though spending little to no time on other variables affecting earnings.

To some, the education assumptions for the injured are based on the educational achievements of the parents and in many cases based on an analysis of the injured’s past history, particularly focused on academic results. The purpose of this paper is to increase further the accuracy of the forensic economists qualitative judgments that are used to project earnings for the injured which are used to calculate pecuniary damages in litigation. I suggest that the religion of the injured, and or, of their parents will be another important variable in determining a person’s future earnings potential. Though my analyses are intended to be a positive contribution to the literature, there are indeed normative questions that may be raised and which are addressed in the conclusion section of the paper.

This research analyzes the statistical effect of a person’s religious affiliation on earnings, and a person’s religious affiliation on education. If the former show a positive affect between the variables, taking into consideration various controls, we can infer that forensic economists should consider spending more time analyzing religion as a variable that has an impact on the future earnings of the injured. The latter, analyzing religious affiliation and education, controlling for related variables, is an indirect method to test the impact of religious affiliation on earnings. The research is exclusive to members of religious institutions within United States.

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