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Study: Belief that God makes followers wealthy doesn’t make people into entrepreneurs

(Gajus-Images / Depositphotos.com)

(Gajus-Images / Depositphotos.com)

A person’s belief in the idea that God bestows financial blessings on the faithful doesn’t make him or her into a successful entrepreneur, according to research from Baylor University. But such a belief can fuel values linked to entrepreneurial thinking, according to the study.

Researchers found that a belief in that concept  — called the “prosperity gospel” — has no direct relationship with that person’s willingness to take risks and ability to recognize opportunity, traits that are typical of entrepreneurs.

“A belief that God will provide financial benefit to the faithful is not enough to push someone to launch a business,” said lead author Kevin D. Dougherty, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences. “The relationship between prosperity beliefs and starting a business is indirect and inconsistent.”

Researchers analyzed data from a survey of 1,066 working American adults, and found that values, on their own or with religious beliefs, can predict whether someone may start a business.

Among other findings: prosperity beliefs can strengthen the relationship between self-enhancement values and opportunity recognition, but they appear to reduce the relationship between openness to change and willingness to take risks.

The study, “Prosperity Beliefs and Value Orientations: Fueling or Suppressing Entrepreneurial Activity” — is published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

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