We investigate the effect of Reformed Protestantism, relative to Catholicism, on preferences for leisure, and for redistribution and intervention in the economy. We use a Fuzzy Spatial Regression Discontinuity Design to exploit a historical quasi-experiment in Western Switzerland, where in the sixteenth century a hitherto homogeneous region was split and one part assigned to adopt Protestantism. We find that Reformed Protestantism reduces referenda voting for more leisure by 14, redistribution by 5, and government intervention by 7 percentage points. These preferences translate into higher per capita income as well as greater income inequality.
Basten, Christoph, and Frank Betz.
"Beyond Work Ethic: Religion, Individual, and Political Preferences."
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
Taxation and Subsidies: Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Europe: Pre-1913
Cultural Economics: Religion