Speakers of future-tensed languages are less likely to be religious

A new GLO Discussion Paper provides evidence that speakers of future-tensed languages are less likely to be religious.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

GLO Discussion Paper No. 500, 2020

Paradise Postponed: Future Tense and Religiosity Download PDF
Mavisakalyan, Astghik & Tarverdi, Yashar & Weber, Clas

GLO Fellows Astghik Mavisakalyan & Yashar Tarverdi

Mavisakalyan, Astghik

Author Abstract: This paper identifies a new source of differences in religiosity: the presence of future tense marking in language. We argue that the rewards and punishments that incentivize religious behavior are less effective for speakers of languages that contain future tense marking. Consistent with this prediction, we show that speakers of future-tensed languages are less likely to be religious and to take up the short-term costs associated with religiosity. What is likely to drive this behavior, according to our results, is the relatively lower appeal of the religious rewards for these individuals. Our analysis is based on within country regressions comparing individuals with identical observable characteristics who speak a different language.

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.


This entry was posted in News, Research. Bookmark the permalink.