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Printing and Protestants: An Empirical Test of the Role of Printing in the Reformation

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  • Jared Rubin

    (Chapman University)

Abstract

The causes of the Protestant Reformation have long been debated. This paper seeks to revive and econometrically test the theory that the spread of the Reformation is linked to the spread of the printing press. I test this theory by analyzing data on the spread of the press and the Reformation at the city level. An econometric analysis that instruments for omitted variable bias with a city's distance from Mainz, the birthplace of printing, suggests that cities with at least one printing press by 1500 were at minimum 29 percentage points more likely to be Protestant by 1600. © 2014 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 96 (2014)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 270-286

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:96:y:2014:i:2:p:270-286

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Keywords: printing; printing press; Protestant Reformation; information technology; revolt;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Nunn, Nathan, 2014. "Historical Development," Handbook of Economic Growth, Elsevier, in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 7, pages 347-402 Elsevier.
  2. Wahl, Fabian, 2013. "Does medieval trade still matter? Historical trade centers, agglomeration and contemporary economic development," FZID Discussion Papers, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID) 82-2013, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
  3. Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli & Jared Rubin, 2010. "The Political Economy of Mass Printing: Legitimacy and Technological Change in the Ottoman Empire," Working papers, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics 2010-02, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2012.
  4. Davide Cantoni, 2010. "The economic effects of the Protestant Reformation: Testing the Weber hypothesis in the German Lands," Economics Working Papers, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra 1260, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  5. Spenkuch, Jörg & Tillmann, Philipp, 2014. "Elite Influence? Religion, Economics, and the Rise of the Nazis," MPRA Paper 54909, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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