Afterlife Beliefs, Work Ethic, and Economic Outcomes

By Nicholas Cornell. Rice University.

This paper expands on the body of literature relating spiritual or religious beliefs to eco- nomic outcomes. It focuses on a hypothetical mechanism whereby cultural values are produced by religious beliefs and these cultural values, in turn, produce economic outcomes. World Val- ues Survey data is leveraged to provide evidence for this mechanism using the proportion of a countrys population that believes in heaven or hell and a measure of the countrys work ethic.

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