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Secularism and tolerance of minority groups predicts future prosperity of countries

12 February 2020

Secular cultures which are tolerant of minority groups and respectful of individuals’ rights tend to have more wealth, education and democracy, a new study by University of Bristol scientists has found.

New research, which surveyed nearly half a million people across 109 countries, shows that changes in culture generally come before any improvements in wealth, education and democracy, rather than the other way around.

Dr Daniel Lawson from the University of Bristol's School of Mathematics and Damian Ruck from the University of Tennessee (US) used the global survey data to show how secularism and openness towards minorities can be used to statistically predict future GDP per capita, secondary education enrollment and democratisation.

The outcome shows that pre-existing cultural values predicted future levels of economic growth and prosperity.

Read the full press release here.

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