By Ian Sample
All things have a price – and if not, economists will find one. Researchers have calculated the going rate for thoughts and prayers offered in hard times.
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.”
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