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Protestants and Catholics: Similar work ethic, different social ethic

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Abstract

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 other’s 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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  • Benito Arruñada, 2004. "Protestants and Catholics: Similar work ethic, different social ethic," Economics Working Papers 743, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:743
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religion; values; Weber; institutions; enforcement.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
    • O39 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Other
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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