If there is one thing the financial crisis has taught us it is the need society has for people who take a (well-founded) pride in their work.

Pat Fagan and Althea Nagai at the Heritage Foundation have analysed United States household survey data to find out who these people most likely are. They found that over 80 per cent of people who attend religious services more than once a month take pride in the type of work they do (which presumably would not include selling mortgages to penniless people) compared to 76.6 per cent of those who worship less than once a month, and 66.7 per cent of those who never attend religious services.

The researchers cite other studies which support their findings, and they point out that part of the religious effect, so to speak, comes from the fact that the same people are married — as other surveys in their Mapping America series indicate.  This makes sense; working for your family gives extra motivation to get a good job and do it well.

One little anomaly in the work-religion link is the indication that people who attend church every week are slightly less likely to be proud of their work than those who stay in bed now and then or go shopping instead. If it’s not a statistical glitch, it may have something to do with marital status, or maybe it means they are very conscientious and self-critical… Anyway, the main message is clear: religious practice is good for the workforce.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet