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Economic Freedom and Religion: An Empirical Investigation

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  • Arye L. Hillman
  • Niklas Potrafke

Abstract

There has been much study of the consequences of economic freedom but, outside of the role of political institutions, there has been little study of the determinants of economic freedom. We investigate whether religion affects economic freedom. Our cross-sectional dataset includes 137 countries averaged over the period 2001-2010. Simple correlations show that Protestantism is associated with economic freedom, Islam is not, with Catholicism in between. The Protestant ethic requires economic freedom. Our empirical estimates, which include religiosity, political institutions, and other explanatory variables, confirm that Protestantism is most conducive to economic freedom.

Suggested Citation

  • Arye L. Hillman & Niklas Potrafke, 2016. "Economic Freedom and Religion: An Empirical Investigation," CESifo Working Paper Series 6017, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6017
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    Cited by:

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    2. Christian Bjørnskov & Stefan Voigt, 2021. "Is constitutionalized media freedom only window dressing? Evidence from terrorist attacks," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 187(3), pages 321-348, June.
    3. Emilia Justyna Powell & Steven Christian McDowell & Robert O’Brien & Julia Oksasoglu, 2021. "Islam-based legal language and state governance: democracy, strength of the judiciary and human rights," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 376-412, September.
    4. Moamen Gouda & Jerg Gutmann, 2021. "Islamic constitutions and religious minorities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 186(3), pages 243-265, March.
    5. Robert A. Lawson & Ryan Murphy & Benjamin Powell, 2020. "The Determinants Of Economic Freedom: A Survey," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(4), pages 622-642, October.
    6. Pál Czeglédi & Carlos Newland, 2018. "How Is The Pro†Capitalist Mentality Globally Distributed?," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(2), pages 240-256, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic freedom; protestant ethic; religion; religiosity; Catholicism; Islam; democracy; autocracy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I39 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Other
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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