Abstract: The literature establishes that education drives competitiveness and economic performance, but the extent education impacts ‘work ethic’ remains untested. Our study analyses panel data from 10 countries to ascertain the pedagogical approach’s role in forming work ethic. The model explains 10–37% of work ethic, suggesting the pedagogical approach in education does influence work ethic. Given East Asia’s recent performance economically and educationally, Western countries soon turn to that region to understand how education systems instil work ethic through discipline and focus on academic performance. Asia and the West need to consider the role educational institutions play towards countries’ economic objectives.