Economic and Attitudinal Factors in Catholic and Protestant Religious Giving

Zaleski, Peter and Charles Zech. "Economic and Attitudinal Factors in Catholic and Protestant Religious Giving." Review of Religious Research, 36 (December, 1994): 158-167.

Using data from 177 Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, and Methodist congregations, Zaleski and Zech assessed determinants of per capita contributions. The authors found that among Catholics giving was lower in larger parishes, a conclusion not evident among the Protestant denominations. Catholic contributions also were positively influenced by high costs, good morale, more open discussion of congregational decisions, the extent to which an active majority of parishioners are involved, and a parish staff which makes effective use of home visitations. Protestant contributions are positively affected by congregation costs, high per-family income, and staff effectiveness in preaching. The researchers used regression equations to establish the predictors of Catholic and Protestant giving, then substituted Protestant values into the Catholic equation to answer "what if" Catholic economic and institutional factors were the same as Protestant. They concluded that smaller parish size would increase giving among Catholics, and Protestant attitudes about parish life also would contribute to modest increases. (SM)