IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v91y2013icp1-12.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

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

Author

Listed:
  • van Hoorn, André
  • Maseland, Robbert

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • van Hoorn, André & Maseland, Robbert, 2013. "Does a Protestant work ethic exist? Evidence from the well-being effect of unemployment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 1-12.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:91:y:2013:i:c:p:1-12
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2013.03.038
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268113000838
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth across Countries," Scholarly Articles 3708464, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. 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.
    3. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2005. "Partisan Social Happiness," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 367-393.
    4. Rainer Winkelmann, 2009. "Unemployment, Social Capital, and Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 421-430, August.
    5. Amy Finkelstein & Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2009. "Approaches to Estimating the Health State Dependence of the Utility Function," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 116-121, May.
    6. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
    7. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    8. Lelkes, Orsolya, 2006. "Tasting freedom: Happiness, religion and economic transition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 173-194, February.
    9. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Gerard Roland, 2011. "Which Dimensions of Culture Matter for Long-Run Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 492-498, May.
    10. Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Torgler, Benno, 2010. "Work ethic, Protestantism, and human capital," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 99-101, May.
    11. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
    12. Clark, Andrew & Knabe, Andreas & Rätzel, Steffen, 2010. "Boon or bane? Others' unemployment, well-being and job insecurity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 52-61, January.
    13. Jellema, Jon & Roland, Gerard, 2011. "Institutional clusters and economic performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(1-2), pages 108-132, June.
    14. Andrew E. Clark & Orsolya Lelkes, 2005. "Deliver us from evil: religion as insurance," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590570, HAL.
    15. Bettendorf, L. & Dijkgraaf, E., 2010. "Religion and income: Heterogeneity between countries," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(1-2), pages 12-29, May.
    16. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    17. Rupasingha, Anil & Chilton, John b., 2009. "Religious adherence and county economic growth in the US," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 438-450, October.
    18. Alesina, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and happiness: are Europeans and Americans different?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2009-2042, August.
    19. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(529), pages 222-243, June.
    20. Tiago Cavalcanti & Stephen Parente & Rui Zhao, 2007. "Religion in macroeconomics: a quantitative analysis of Weber’s thesis," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 32(1), pages 105-123, July.
    21. William A. Darity & Arthur H. Goldsmith, 1996. "Social Psychology, Unemployment and Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 121-140, Winter.
    22. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 23-48, Spring.
    23. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "People's opium? Religion and economic attitudes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 225-282, January.
    24. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
    25. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
    26. van Hoorn, André & Maseland, Robbert, 2010. "Cultural differences between East and West Germany after 1991: Communist values versus economic performance?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 791-804, December.
    27. Gruber Jonathan H & Mullainathan Sendhil, 2005. "Do Cigarette Taxes Make Smokers Happier," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-45, July.
    28. Popova, Olga, 2014. "Can religion insure against aggregate shocks to happiness? The case of transition countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 804-818.
    29. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
    30. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
    31. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Becker, Sascha O. & Pfaff, Steven & Rubin, Jared, 2016. "Causes and consequences of the Protestant Reformation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1-25.
    2. repec:eee:soceco:v:73:y:2018:i:c:p:53-65 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Filistrucchi, L. & Prüfer, J., 2013. "Faithful Strategies : How Religion Shapes Nonprofit Management," Discussion Paper 2013-052, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Rainer Winkelmann, 2014. "Unemployment and happiness," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 1-94, October.
    5. Chen, Yangyang & Murgulov, Zoltan & Rhee, S. Ghon & Veeraraghavan, Madhu, 2016. "Religious beliefs and local government financing, investment, and cash holding decisions," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(PA), pages 258-271.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Values; Religion; Happiness; Preferences; Culture; Weber;

    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • P50 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - General
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:91:y:2013:i:c:p:1-12. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.