Do laws against Muslim veils actually increase religiosity?

Veiling among Muslim women is modelled as a form of cultural resistance which inhibits the transmission of secular values. Individuals care about opinions of their community members and use veiling to influence these opinions. Our theory predicts that veiling is highest when individuals from highly religious communities interact in highly secular environments. This accounts for puzzling features of the new veiling movement since the 1970s. Though veiling helps retain religious values, we show that bans on veiling aimed at assimilation can be counterproductive. By inducing religious types to segregate in local communities, bans on veiling can lead to increased religiosity.

Source: “Veiling” from Department of Economics, University of Oxford, Number 491, June 2010

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