Religion, Culture and Economic Performance

64 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2004

See all articles by Marcus Noland

Marcus Noland

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics; East-West Center

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 20, 2003


The hypothesis that the coefficients on variables of religious affiliation are jointly equal to zero can frequently be rejected at conventional levels of statistical significance (i.e., religion matters), but no robust relationship between adherence to major world religions and national economic performance is uncovered, using both cross-national and subnational data.

The results with respect to Islam do not support the notion that it is inimical to growth. On the contrary, virtually every statistically significant coefficient on Muslim population shares reported in this paper - in both cross-country and within-country statistical analyses - is positive. If anything, Islam promotes growth.

Keywords: economic growth, convergence, religion, Islam, India, Malaysia, Ghana

JEL Classification: O40, Z12

Suggested Citation

Noland, Marcus, Religion, Culture and Economic Performance (November 20, 2003). Available at SSRN: or

Marcus Noland (Contact Author)

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

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Washington, DC 20036
United States

East-West Center ( email )

1601 East-West Road
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United States

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