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Not the Opium of the People: Income and Secularization in a Panel of Prussian Counties

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  • Sascha O. Becker
  • Ludger Woessmann

Abstract

The interplay between religion and the economy has long occupied social scientists. We construct a unique panel of income and Protestant church attendance using 175 Prussian counties, presented in six waves from 1886 to 1911. The data reveal a marked decline in church attendance coinciding with increasing income. The cross-section also shows a negative association between income and church attendance. The associations disappear in panel analyses, including first-differenced models of the 1886 to 1911 change, panel models with county and time fixed effects, and panel Granger-causality tests. The results cast doubt on causal interpretations of the religion-economy nexus in Prussian secularization.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 103 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 539-44

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:539-44

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.539
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  1. Lipford, Jody W. & Tollison, Robert D., 2003. "Religious participation and income," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 249-260, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Becker, Sascha O. & Nagler, Markus & Woessmann, Ludger, 2014. "Education Promoted Secularization," IZA Discussion Papers 8016, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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