Does atheism make a person wealthier? Atheism might be associated with higher or lower income. Religious folks, for example, might network more which might translate into better money-making opportunites. On the other hand, non-believers might earn more for some reason. Perhaps they see more clearly how one achieves Y and are less encumbered with irrational thinking. Maybe belief and income are unrelated. Myself, I suspect skeptics make a little more because they tend to be smarter.
The GSS asked white Americans about their income and belief in God. I regressed personal income on belief and added Wordsum as a control:
OLS Regression Coefficients (Betas), N = 587
Believes in higher power -.02
Believes sometimes -.05
Believes but sometimes doubts .08
** p < .01, two-tail test
The five belief variables are dummies, and the reference category is those who know there is a God. Before IQ is entered into the model, agnostics and believers who sometimes doubt earn significantly more than those who have no doubts. But as you see above, there is no significant assocation between belief and income once IQ is controlled.
So, agnostics and believers with doubts make more, but only because they are, on average, smarter. Atheists do not have higher incomes, even at the bivariate level. This, in spite of the fact that they are more intelligent. Maybe the networking does pay off. Or perhaps disbelief is associated with other characteristics that work against economic success: lack of social skills, for example.
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