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Weber, Work Ethic And Well-Being


  • André van Hoorn

    () (Radboud University Nijmegen, Department of Economics)

  • Robbert Maseland

    (Radboud University Nijmegen, Department of Political Science. Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne)


Following Max Weber’s seminal work, much recent work has turned to religious values to explain socio-economic developments. We present a test of Weber’s original thesis that addresses fundamental limitations of previous research. A novel method that builds on happiness research is used to measure a religious work ethic in terms of the psychic costs of unemployment. The resulting ‘experienced preferences’ provide strong support for Weber’s original thesis: for both Protestants and Protestant countries, not having a job has substantially larger negative happiness effects than for other religious denominations. This provides a Weber-type channel relating religion to socio-economic outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • André van Hoorn & Robbert Maseland, 2008. "Weber, Work Ethic And Well-Being," Papers on Economics of Religion 08/07, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  • Handle: RePEc:gra:paoner:08/07

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Shirokanova, 2015. "Protestant Work Ethic Among The Muslims: Changeable Empirical Evidence," HSE Working papers WP BRP 60/SOC/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    2. MIKUCKA Malgorzata, 2011. "Unemployment and well-being in Europe. The effect of country unemployment rate, work ethics and family ties," LISER Working Paper Series 2011-14, LISER.

    More about this item


    values; religion; happiness; preferences; outcomes; culture;

    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

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