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Luther and the Girls: Religious Denomination and the Female Education Gap in 19th Century Prussia

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  • Sascha O. Becker
  • Ludger Woessmann

Abstract

Martin Luther urged each town to have a girls’ school so that girls would learn to read the Gospel, evoking a surge of building girls’ schools in Protestant areas. Using county- and town-level data from the first Prussian census of 1816, we show that a larger share of Protestants decreased the gender gap in basic education. This result holds when using only the exogenous variation in Protestantism due to a county’s or town’s distance to Wittenberg, the birthplace of the Reformation. Similar results are found for the gender gap in literacy among the adult population in 1871.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2008/wp-cesifo-2008-10/cesifo1_wp2414.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2414.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2414

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Keywords: gender gap; education; Protestantism;

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References

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  1. Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2004. "Jewish Occupational Selection: Education, Restrictions, or Minorities?," IZA Discussion Papers 1224, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Becker, Sascha O. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," Munich Reprints in Economics 20255, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Psacharopoulos, George & Patrinos, Harry Anthony, 2002. "Returns to investment in education : a further update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2881, The World Bank.
  4. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Benno Torgler, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History: A Comment on Becker and Woessmann," CREMA Working Paper Series 2009-06, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  5. Maristella Botticini & Zvi Eckstein, 2007. "From Farmers to Merchants, Conversions and Diaspora: Human Capital and Jewish History," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 885-926, 09.
  6. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother'S Education And The Intergenerational Transmission Of Human Capital: Evidence From College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2007. "The Enfranchisement of Women and the Welfare State," CEPR Discussion Papers 6396, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from before the Demographic Transition," CESifo Working Paper Series 2775, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Chaudhary, Latika & Rubin, Jared, 2011. "Reading, writing, and religion: Institutions and human capital formation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 17-33, March.
  4. Rubin, Jared, 2011. "Printing and Protestants: reforming the economics of the Reformation," MPRA Paper 31267, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Boppart, Timo & Falkinger, Josef & Grossmann, Volker, 2010. "Protestantism and Education: Reading (the Bible) and Other Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 5402, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2010. "The Effect of Investment in Children's Education on Fertility in 1816 Prussia," CESifo Working Paper Series 3252, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Ludger Wößmann, 2010. "Die Bedeutung von Religion für die Bildung: Eine wirtschaftshistorische Forschungsagenda anhand preußischer Kreisdaten, Teil 1," Ifo Schnelldienst, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 63(23), pages 25-32, December.
  8. Boppart, Timo & Falkinger, Josef & Grossmann, Volker & Woitek, Ulrich & Wüthrich, Gabriela, 2013. "Under which conditions does religion affect educational outcomes?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 242-266.
  9. Gregory Clark & Rowena Gray, 2012. "Geography is not Destiny. Geography, Institutions and Literacy in England, 1837-1863," Working Papers 0015, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).

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