WASHINGTON: Economists searching for reasons why some nations are richer than others have found that those with a wide belief in hell are less corrupt and more prosperous, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis.
Researchers at the regional Federal Reserve bank acknowledged the importance of productivity and investment in the economic process but looked at some recent unconventional efforts to explain differences in national prosperity.
The St Louis Fed drew on work by outside economists who studied 35 countries, including the United States, European nations, Japan, India and Turkey and found that religion shed some useful light.
"In countries where large percentages of the population believe in hell, there seems to be less corruption and a higher standard of living," the St Louis Fed said in its July quarterly review.
For instance, 71 per cent of the US population believe in hell and the country boasts the world’s highest per capita income, according to the 2003 United Nations Human Development Report and 1990-1993 World Values Survey.
Ireland, not far behind the United States in terms of income, likewise has a healthy fear of a nether world with 53 per cent of the population believing in hell’s existence.
So I guess in this case it is "The Devil made me not do it."