The impact of Protestant Evangelism on economic outcomes

From Gharad Bryan, James J. Choi, and Dean Karlan:

We study the causal impact of religiosity through a randomized evaluation of an evangelical Protestant Christian values and theology education program delivered to thousands of ultra-poor Filipino households. Six months after the program ended, treated households have higher religiosity and income; no statistically significant differences in total labor supply, consumption, food security, or life satisfaction; and lower perceived relative economic status. Exploratory analysis suggests that the income treatment effect may operate through increasing grit. Thirty months after the program ended, significant differences in the intensity of religiosity disappear, but those in the treatment group are less likely to be Catholic and more likely to be Protestant, and there is some mixed evidence that their consumption and perceived relative economic status are higher. We conclude that this church-based program may represent a method of increasing noncognitive skills and reducing poverty among adults in developing countries.

From the QJE.

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Or we conclude that this church-based program is unlikely to represent a method of increasing noncognitive skills and leaves poverty among adults in developing countries relatively unchanged.

Or we could ask what would we do if our research produced no useful results?

Publish anyway!

It would be very useful to have a library of research that turned out to be a dead end so we don't have to repeat it.

I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I'm working online! My work didn't exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new…... DCs after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn't be happier.

Here’s what I do…............ b­i­z­p­r­o­f­i­t­9.c­o­m

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… or that any sort of education that emphasizes grit, character etc improves those.

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Why isn't the Catholic control similarly evangelical like Opus Dei?

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Or perhaps people flexible enough to reconsider their religion are different from the general population?

Perhaps they are compensating for a loss of social capital?

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This might be nothing more than "rice Christians have more money than non-rice Christians" . For those of you that don't know, rice Christians is a prerogative term given to Protestants in SE Asia (they're in it for the money given by Protestant charities, not for the religion).

yes, whenever anybody comes into the office where I work, I look at them and think - they don't really want to be here, they are not real workers, they're just coming for the money.

Real workers can be in it for the money. Can real worshippers though?

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You mean "pejorative"?

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Much of evangelical Protestantism is influenced by a version of the prosperity gospel. Many people are confused about what the prosperity gospel means. Yes, God wants one to be rich, but He isn't going to give it to one: one has the God-given power to change and make oneself as rich as one is willing to change. Complacency doesn't cut it, motivation does. This self-centered version of Christianity is alien to many Christians, but to the believers it's the path to a life changed for the better. No, I'm not one of them, but I offer this comment as a contrast to the traditional Catholic faith, which emphasizes doing good works to help others.

Prosperity Gospel in the US is centered on the African American Pentecostal church and Judaism

It’s orthogonal to Evangelical Christianity, which is why it’s not that prevalent among evangelicals (unless AA Pentecostal is flagged as Evangelical, but that’s seriously burying the lede)

Where did you get African Americans and Judaism from? Even a casual Google search shows the majority by far is White American Christians. Sorry couldn't let your comment go unchallenged. I agree it's more Pentecostal than Evangelical but it isn't "centered" on Blacks and Jews.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology

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I think Catholics and others who “emphasize doing good works to help others” would also claim that it is “the path to a life changed for the better.”

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"The final section of the curriculum covers what such good works would be. They include stopping wasting money on gambling and drinking, saving money, treating everyday work as “a sacred ministry,” and becoming active in a local church community. "

This and a support group of people trying to accomplish the same.

The religiosity is about creating a group and having some kind of plug in constitution for getting along and maintaining the community. From there it is a social environment that encourages and rewards good decisions.

This is how all functioning communities work.

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The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Is this giving the fish instead of teaching to fish?

No, not according to the abstract:

" We conclude that this church-based program may represent a method of increasing noncognitive skills"

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Interestingly Protestantism was associated with greater wealth in Brazil, at least during 1970 to 2000. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4486660/
Filipino Protestantism might be different in that a lot of it was introduced by USA based missionaries. In Brazil, the USA missionaries were not well received. Pentecostals, the largest and fastest growing Protestant denominations, originally were converted by Swedes, a bit later among the large Italian population by an Italian missionary who was particularly successful in the rural south. Growth was also sped later by the founding of a Brazilian church. With 12% of the Brazilian population, it is easy to see why there might be much more significant networking factors among Pentecostals than in the Philippines with its much smaller protestant population..

Over to you, Thiago...

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