Paradise Postponed: Future Tense and Religiosity

Astghik Mavisakalyan, Yashar Tarverdi, Clas Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper identifies a new source of differences in religiosity: the presenceof future tense marking in language. We argue that the rewards and punishments that incentivise religious behaviour 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 withreligiosity. What is likely to drive this behaviour, according to our results, is the relativelylower 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior & Organization
Publication statusSubmitted - 25 Mar 2020

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