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Does a Protestant work ethic exist? Evidence from the well-being effect of unemployment

  • van Hoorn, André
  • Maseland, Robbert

Evidence on Weber's original thesis on a Protestant work ethic is ambiguous and relies on questionable measures of work attitudes. We test the relation between Protestantism and work attitudes using a novel method, operationalizing work ethic as the effect of unemployment on individuals’ subjective well-being. Analyzing a sample of 150,000 individuals from 82 societies, we find strong support for a Protestant work ethic: unemployment hurts Protestants more and hurts more in Protestant societies. Whilst the results shed new light on the Protestant work ethic debate, the method has wider applicability in the analysis of attitudinal differences.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 91 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 1-12

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:91:y:2013:i:c:p:1-12
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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