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New research suggests a link between religion and attitudes that are conducive to economic growth. Economists, sociologists, and political scientists have long been interested in explaining the economic success of certain countries and the persistent poverty of others. The first, and most famous example, is the German sociologist Max Weber. In his 1905 treatise, "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism," Weber attributes the emergence of capitalism to the Protestant doctrine of salvation and concept of good works. Though the original debate centered on the economic virtues of Protestantism versus Catholicism, today's debate encompasses the economic effect of all major religions.
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