This article examines the different influences that Catholicism and Protestantism exert on economically relevant values. It argues that Catholic theology and practice facilitate personal transactions while Protestantism favors values and types of moral and legal enforcement better adapted for impersonal trade. Protestantism may thus be more conducive to economic growth through anonymous exchange while Catholicism may provide better support for personal contracting. Several components of this hypothesis are confirmed using statistical models with data from the 1998 ISSP international survey on religion. These show that Protestants are more trusting of anonymous counter parties, develop more reliable institutions for legal enforcement and are more willing to spend resources on monitoring and punishing other members of the community. Catholicism is more protective of the family and small-group relationships, and provides more tolerant and less motivating beliefs. Relatively smaller and less consistent differences appear in terms of worldly personal success and incentives.
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