The Protestant work ethic, the Calvinist work ethic
 or the Puritan work ethic
 is a concept in
history which emphasizes that hard work, discipline and
 are a result of a person's subscription to the values espoused by the
Protestant faith, particularly
This contrasts with the focus upon religious attendance, confession, and
ceremonial sacrament in the
Roman Catholic tradition. A person does not need to be a religious
Calvinist in order to follow the Protestant work ethic, as it is a part of certain cultures impacted by the
The concept is often credited with helping to define the societies of
Western Europe such as in
Switzerland. Even though some of these countries were more affected by
Calvinism, local Protestants nevertheless were influenced by these ideas to a varying degree. As
penal law was enacted to uphold the uniform teachings of the
Church of England in
England, only various
[c] held to those values. Among them were the
Puritans who emigrated to
New England, bringing the work ethic with them and helping define the
culture of what would become the
United States of America.
Germanic immigrants brought their work ethic to the
United States of America,
South Africa and other European colonies.
The phrase was initially coined in 1904–1905
Max Weber in his book
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
A number of leading contemporary historians, including eminent historian
Fernand Braudel (d. 1985) and British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper (d. 2003), assert that the existing consensus among scholars is that Protestant Work Ethic theory is false. They refer to the pre-Reformation existence of rapid economic development of Catholic capitalist communities.