In a column on February 28, the New York Times’ David Leonhardt considers evidence that religious faith can lead to better economic success, citing a recent study co-authored by Yale SOM’s James Choi.
In the study, a collaboration with former Yale economist Dean Karlan (now at Northwestern University) and Gharad T. Bryan of the London School of Economics, poor individuals in the Philippines were given a 15-week course on health and business skills; some also received instruction in Protestant evangelical teachings. Six months later, the group that experienced the religious curriculum was earning more money, although other measures of well-being were unchanged.
“No study is definitive,” Leonhardt writes. “But I do find the overall evidence of religion’s ancillary benefits to be strong. That evidence hasn’t made me personally religious. I’m still quite comfortable with my secularism. But the evidence has made me more humble and open-minded about how the world can go about solving some of its problems.”