Pastoralists in rural Tibet who spend more time on religious activities earn more than their counterparts who pray less. This is the striking conclusion drawn by development economist Qin Tu.
Buddhists believe in both a previous life and a life to come. Their belief in an afterlife has a positive effect on the work ethic and on the inclination to save now, claims Tu. Moreover, pastoralists with a good income go to the temple more often because this gives them status and social exchange. Interaction at the temple brings them market information and is therefore also good for business.
Qin Tu, postdoc with development economist Erwin Bulte, published his research this month in the China Economic Review.