Economists calculate monetary value of ‘thoughts and prayers’
US study finds Christians are willing to pay for prayers – but atheists will pay to avoid them
Rather than settling on one price for all, the study found the value of a compassionate gesture depended overwhelmingly on a person’s beliefs. While Christian participants were willing to part with money to receive thoughts and prayers from others, the idea made nonbelievers baulk. Instead of shelling out to receive the gestures, on average they were willing to pay to avoid them.
Linda Thunström, an economist and an author of the study at the University of Wyoming, said: “That was a big surprise. Atheists and agnostics are actually willing to give up money to avoid people’s thoughts and prayers.”
If I were feeling churlish, I might tell them “Pay me to put up with your prayers,” but I wouldn’t pay them to go away. It’s much cheaper to mock them and get them to go away on their own.