Protestants and Catholics: Similar Work Ethic, Different Social Ethic
The Economic Journal, 2010, 120(547), 890-918
32 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2004 Last revised: 22 Jul 2018
Date Written: September 3, 2010
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.
Keywords: Religion, values, Weber, institutions, enforcement
JEL Classification: D23, E0, N4, O39, Z1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation