This study examines the association between world religions and the earnings attribute of conservatism. I group the major world religions into two sub-groups, Western and Eastern. Prior literature documents that followers of Western religions have a lower preference for risk relative to followers of Eastern religions. Prior literature also finds a lower preference for risk is associated with more conservative reporting. Using a large sample of firms listed on exchanges around the world, I find earnings of firms domiciled in countries with larger Western religious presence are more conservative. The results hold after using an indicator for whether the predominant religion in the country is a Western religion, controlling for religiosity, and using a sample of U.S. foreign registrants that file a 20-F reconciliation with the SEC. My study contributes to our understanding of how social norms affect financial reporting.

JEL Classifications: G14; G15; M41.

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