Which is a stronger religious motivator: getting into heaven or avoiding hell?


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Among Catholics, it’s heaven:

Using a stochastic dominance approach in an international dataset of about 10,000 Catholic subjects, we show that incentives (based on absolute belief) play a crucial role in religious practice (church attendance and prayer). Furthermore, we find that when both positive (heaven) and negative (hell) incentives are available, the former have a much stronger effect than the latter. The results are confirmed using Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests.

Source: “Incentives in religious performance: a stochastic dominance approach” from Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 5, No. 2, April 2010, pp. 176–181

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