L’Observatoire des religions

Economics, Religion and the Decline of Europe

mercredi 19 décembre 2007 par Niall Ferguson

This article asks whether there is any casual connection between the contemporaneous decline in industriousness and religiosity in Europe over the past 25 years. In the United States working hours and levels of religious faith and observance have held steady or even increased over this period. But in most European countries they have declined together. Could this be a posthumous vindication of Max Weber’s thesis about the Protestant work ethic and the rise of capitalism ? Though there clearly are some important links between religion and economic behaviour, the article concludes that the evidence does not perfectly fit Weber’s theory, which emphasised abstinence rather than consumption as a determinant of economic development.

Economic Affairs, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 37-40, December 2004

Harvard University - Department of History ; Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace


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