Relative to Catholics, Protestants and non-believers, those individuals of Eastern Orthodox religion seem to be less happy, have less social capital and prefer old ideas and safe jobs. In a new Discussion Paper of the Global Labor Organization (GLO), Simeon Djankov and Elena Nikolova provide strong empirical evidence using global data sources to suggest that this is support for the received Berdyaev hypothesis of communism as a successor of orthodoxy.
Simeon Djankov is associated with the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK and the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics, USA.
GLO Fellow Elena Nikolova is associated with the Central European Labor Studies Institute, Slovakia, the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, Regensburg, Germany, and University College London.
Simeon Djankov & Elena Nikolova: Communism as the Unhappy Coming, GLO Discussion Paper No. 192. FREE DOWNLOAD.
Eastern Orthodox believers are less happy compared to those of Catholic and Protestant faith using data covering more than 100 countries around the world. Consistent with the happiness results, the study also finds that relative to Catholics, Protestants and non-believers, those of Eastern Orthodox religion have less social capital and prefer old ideas and safe jobs. In addition, Orthodoxy is associated with left-leaning political preferences and stronger support for government involvement in the economy. Compared to non-believers and Orthodox adherents, Catholics and Protestants are less likely to agree that government ownership is a good, and Protestants are less likely to agree that getting rich can only happen at the expense of others. These differences in life satisfaction and other attitudes and values persisted despite the fact that communist elites sought to eradicate church-going in Eastern Europe, since communists maintained many aspects of Orthodox theology which were useful for the advancement of the communist doctrine. The findings are consistent with Berdyaev’s (1933, 1937) hypothesis of communism as a successor of Orthodoxy. (Abstract marginally adapted from the DP.)
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