NEGATIVE PUBLICITY AND CATHOLIC SCHOOLS

Authors

  • ANGELA K. DILLS,

    1. Dills: Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Providence College, 1 Cunningham Square, Providence, RI 02918. Phone (410) 865-2590, Fax (401) 865-12964, E-mail adills@providence.edu
    Search for more papers by this author
  • REY HERNÁNDEZ-JULIÁN

    1. Hernández-Julián: Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Metropolitan State College of Denver, Central 307D, Campus Box 77, P.O. Box 173362, Denver, CO 80217. Phone (303) 596-4912, Fax (303) 596-3966, E-mail rherna42@mscd.edu
    Search for more papers by this author
    • We thank Margaret M. Schultz at the National Catholic Educational Association for providing us with the data on Catholic schools and enrollment. Thanks also to Laura Argys, Elizabeth Kleinfeld, Hillary Morgan, Sean Mulholland, Christina Peters, Dan Rees, and Kurt Rotthoff for their helpful comments. Any errors are ours alone.


Abstract

Between 1990 and 2007, the number of Catholic schools in the United States decreased by 14% and enrollment diminished by 7%. We generate two measures of publicity of sexual abuse at the diocesan level—public disclosure and news coverage. Dioceses with higher rates of negative publicity had a larger decline in both the number of Catholic schools and overall Catholic school enrollment. We estimate that publicity arising from sexual offenders within the Church explains 5% of the decline in the availability of Catholic schooling. (JEL I21, H52, H44)

Ancillary