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Protestants and Catholics: Similar Work Ethic, Different Social Ethic

  • Benito Arruñada

This article develops two hypotheses about economically-relevant values of Christian believers, according to which Protestants should work more and more effectively, as in the work ethic argument of Max Weber, or display a stronger social ethic that would lead them to monitor each others conduct, support political and legal institutions and hold more homogeneous values. Tests using current survey data confirm substantial partial correlations and possible different effects in mutual social control, institutional performance and homogeneity of values but no difference in work ethics. Protestantism therefore seems conducive to capitalist economic development, not by the direct psychological route of the Weberian work ethic but rather by promoting an alternative social ethic that facilitates impersonal trade.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 497.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:497
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