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Communism as the unhappy coming

Simeon Djankov and Elena Nikolova

Journal of Comparative Economics, 2018, vol. 46, issue 3, 708-721

Abstract: We show that 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, we also find 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 thing, 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.

Keywords: Attitudes; Communism; Eastern Orthodoxy; Religion (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D02 P35 Z12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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