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Predestination and the Protestant ethic

This paper shows an equivalence result between the utility functions of secular agents who abide by a moral obligation to accumulate wealth and those of religious agents who believe that salvation is immutable and preordained by God. This result formalizes Weber's renowned thesis on the connection between the worldly asceticism of Protestants and the religious premises of Calvinism. Furthermore, ongoing economies are often modeled with preference relations such as "Keeping up with the Joneses" which are not associated with religion. Our results relate these secular economies of today and economies of the past shaped by religious ideas.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1350.

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Date of creation: Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1350
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. Bagwell, Laurie Simon & Bernheim, B Douglas, 1996. "Veblen Effects in a Theory of Conspicuous Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 349-73, June.
  2. Simon Grant & Atsushi Kajii & Ben Polak, 2000. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Recursive Non-Expected Utility Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 425-434, March.
  3. Blum, U. & Dudley, L., 2001. "Religion and Economic Growth: Was Weber Right?," Cahiers de recherche 2001-05, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  4. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1997. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory and Anticipatory Feelings," Working Papers 97-37, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  5. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 4952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Davide Cantoni, 2010. "The economic effects of the Protestant Reformation: Testing the Weber hypothesis in the German Lands," Economics Working Papers 1260, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  7. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Optimal expectations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24954, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Robert J. Barro, 2009. "Rare Disasters, Asset Prices, and Welfare Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 243-64, March.
  9. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2002. "People's Opium? Religion and Economic Attitudes," NBER Working Papers 9237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Glaeser, Edward L & Glendon, Spencer, 1998. "Incentives, Predestination and Free Will," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 429-43, July.
  11. Marko Tervio & Ernesto Dal Bo, 2008. "Self-esteem, Moral Capital, and Wrongdoing," 2008 Meeting Papers 245, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Tiago Cavalcanti & Stephen Parente & Rui Zhao, 2007. "Religion in macroeconomics: a quantitative analysis of Weber’s thesis," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 105-123, July.
  13. Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Keeping Up with the Joneses: Consumption Externalities, Portfolio Choice, and Asset Prices," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(1), pages 1-8, February.
  14. Harald Uhlig & Lars Ljungqvist, 2000. "Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 356-366, June.
  15. Gilat Levy & Ronny Razin, 2012. "Religious Beliefs, Religious Participation, and Cooperation," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 121-51, August.
  16. Ulrich Blum & Leonard Dudley, 2001. "Religion and economic growth: was Weber right?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 207-230, February.
  17. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-69, July.
  18. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(3), pages 905-950, August.
  19. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521517324 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. A. Abel, 2010. "Asset prices under habit formation and catching up with the Jones," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1395, David K. Levine.
  21. Kreps, David M & Porteus, Evan L, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 185-200, January.
  22. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 531-596, May.
  23. Benabou, R. & Tirole, J., 2001. "Willpower and Personal Rules," Papers 216, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  24. Juan-JosÈ Ganuza & JosÈ S. Penalva, 2010. "Signal Orderings Based on Dispersion and the Supply of Private Information in Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 1007-1030, 05.
  25. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1994. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," CRSP working papers 412, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  26. Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
  27. Rege, Mari, 2008. "Why do people care about social status?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 233-242, May.
  28. Robert B. Ekelund, Jr. & Robert F. Hebert & Robert D. Tollison, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of the Protestant Reformation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 646-671, June.
  29. Bill Dupor & Wen-Fang Liu, 2003. "Jealousy and Equilibrium Overconsumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 423-428, March.
  30. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521741231 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2001. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 298-319, April.
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