Protestantism, Labor Force Participation, and Employment across Countries

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Using data from 80 countries, this article analyzes whether Protestant religion affects labor market outcomes. Controlling for the impact of labor market regulations, business regulations, the tax burden, the business cycle, the level of economic development, demographic and geographical conditions, wars, and the transition from planned to market economy as well as unobserved country and year effects, we find that countries in which the largest portion of the population practices Protestant religion have substantially higher labor force participation and employment rates, particularly among women. We obtain the same result for a subgroup of 19 industrial countries for which we have better data to control for the impact of labor market institutions and business cycle fluctuations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-816
Number of pages22
JournalAmerican Journal of Economics and Sociology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2007


  • Cycles (E320)
  • includes inheritance and gift taxes (H240)
  • Religion (Z120)
  • Cultural Economics
  • Time Allocation and Labor Supply (J220)
  • Business Fluctuations
  • Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

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