What happens when various “blue laws” (i.e., laws restricting commercial retail activity on Sundays) are repealed? According to this study:
Repealing America’s blue laws not only decreased church attendance, donations and spending, but it also led to a rise in alcohol and drug use among people who had been religious…
The economists used data from the General Social Survey on religious attendance and from the Consumer Expenditure Survey to show a very strong reduction in religious attendance and a decline in religious contributions once the blue laws were repealed. They found no change in other charitable activity, [MIT economist Jonathan] Gruber notes.
Interestingly enough, the former church-goers also went out and did more things on Saturday nights.
Here’s the article abstract: “The Church versus the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition?“