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Religion and economy: a comment


  • Benno Torgler

    () (Queensland University of Technology, CESifo, CREMA, NCER)

  • Christoph Schaltegger

    () (University of St. Gallen, CREMA, ECONOMIESUISSE)


McCleary and Barro (2006) analyse whether Max Weber was right in emphasizing the religious impact on work ethic. They find a positive correlation between belief in hell and work ethic (p=0.098). They conclude that “Weber may have been right in emphasizing the religion link with work ethic” (p. 71). However, they fail to explore link to Max Weber's work on Protestant ethic as they don't explore for denomination differences. Weber's hypothesis would suggest that we would mainly observe an effect for Protestantism. Using a similar data set we provide empirical evidence that indicates that the impact of religion on work ethic is affected by the level of Protestantism within a society. Thus, compared to McCleary and Barro's finding such a result is very much in line with Max Weber's link between religion and work ethic.

Suggested Citation

  • Benno Torgler & Christoph Schaltegger, 2009. "Religion and economy: a comment," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(3), pages 2227-2230.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-09-00171

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 531-596.
    2. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    3. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
    4. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
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    JEL classification:

    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General


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