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Protestantism and Education: Reading (the Bible) and other Skills

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  • Timo Boppart
  • Josef Falkinger
  • Volker Grossmann

Abstract

During industrialization, Protestants were more literate than Catholics. This paper investigates whether this fact may be led back to the intrinsic motivation of Protestants to read the bible and whether other education motives were involved as well. We employ a historical data set from Switzerland which allows us to differentiate between different cognitive skills: reading, numeracy, essay writing and Swiss history. We develop an estimation strategy to examine whether the impact of religious denomination was particularly large with respect to reading capabilities. We find support for this hypothesis. However, Protestants’ education motives went beyond reading the bible.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2011/wp-cesifo-2011-01/cesifo1_wp3314.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3314.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3314

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Keywords: cognitive skills; education; reading capability; religious denomination; protestant reformation;

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  1. Becker, Sascha O. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2007. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," IZA Discussion Papers 2886, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Becker, Sascha & Woessmann, Ludger, 2008. "Luther and the Girls: Religious Denomination and the Female Education Gap in 19th Century Prussia," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2008-20, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  3. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2010. "The Effect of Protestantism on Education before the Industrialization: Evidence from 1816 Prussia," CESifo Working Paper Series 2910, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Frank Betz & Christoph Carl Basten, 2012. "Beyond Work Ethic: Religion, Individual and Political Preferences," KOF Working papers 12-309, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.

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