This paper shows an equivalence result between the utility functions of secular agents who abide by a moral obligation to accumulate wealth and those of religious agents who believe that salvation is immutable and preordained by God. This result formalizes Weber's renowned thesis on the connection between the worldly asceticism of Protestants and the religious premises of Calvinism. Furthermore, ongoing economies are often modeled with preference relations such as "Keeping up with the Joneses" which are not associated with religion. Our results relate these secular economies of today and economies of the past shaped by religious ideas.
Published as: Predestination and the protestant ethic in Journal of the European Economic Association , Vol. 16, No. 1, 45-76, February, 2018