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Adopting a New Religion: The Case of Protestantism in 16th Century Germany

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  • Davide Cantoni

Abstract

Using a rich dataset of territories and cities of the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century, this paper investigates the determinants of adoption and diffusion of Protestantism as a state religion. A territorys distance to Wittenberg, the city where Martin Luther taught, is a major determinant of adoption. This finding can be explained through a theory of strategic neighborhood interactions: in an uncertain legal context, introducing the Reformation was a risky enterprise for territorial lords, and had higher prospects of success if powerful neighboring states committed to the new faith first. The model is tested in a panel dataset featuring the dates of introduction of the Reformation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 540.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:540

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Keywords: Protestantism; State religions; Germany; Spatial adoption of policies;

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References

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  1. Timo Boppart & Josef Falkinger & Volker Grossmann & Ulrich Woitek & Gabriela Wüthrich, 2008. "Qualifying Religion: The Role of Plural Identities for Educational Production," CESifo Working Paper Series 2283, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2005. "Which Countries Have State Religions?," Scholarly Articles 3710663, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 531-596, May.
  4. Murat Iyigun, 2008. "Luther and Suleyman," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1465-1494, November.
  5. Mukand, Sharun W. & Rodrik, Dani, 2002. "In Search of the Holy Grail: Policy Convergence, Experimentation and Economic Performance," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 3525, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Cited by:
  1. Falck, Oliver & Bauernschuster, Stefan, 2013. "Culture and the Spatial Dissemination of Ideas Evidence from Froebel’s Kindergarten Movement," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 20495, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Julia Cagé & Valeria Rueda, 2013. "The long Term Effects of the Printing Press in Sub Saharan Africa," PSE Working Papers, HAL halshs-00844446, HAL.
  3. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00844446 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Akçomak, I. Semih & Webbink, Dinand & ter Weel, Bas, 2013. "Why Did the Netherlands Develop So Early? The Legacy of the Brethren of the Common Life," IZA Discussion Papers 7167, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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