It’s widely believed that fraudulent practices like mortgage underwriting and predatory lending were some of the main causes of the 2000s credit crunch, which raises some terrifying concerns: If the state of the economy is so dependent on a handful of people promising not to be greedy, what’s really stopping the economy from collapsing all over again as soon as those assholes decide more is better? Surprisingly, it might be their belief in hell.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and Harvard researchers both independently studied the correlation between believing in hell and economic development. Each analyzed years of data from dozens of countries, and in each case the results were the same: The more a population believes in hell, the less corrupt and more prosperous their country’s economy is.
Interestingly, believing in God alone didn’t cut it. It’s explicitly the fear of eternal damnation.