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

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  • Becker, Sascha O.
  • Woessmann, Ludger

Abstract

The interplay between religion and the economy has occupied social scientists for long. We construct a unique panel of income and Protestant church attendance for six waves of up to 175 Prussian counties spanning 1886-1911. 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. But the association disappears in panel analyses, including first- differenced models of the 1886-1911 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

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9299.

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Date of creation: Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9299

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Keywords: Prussian economic history; Religion; secularization;

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References

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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. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2002. "People's Opium? Religion and Economic Attitudes," CEPR Discussion Papers 3588, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  4. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Erik Hornung & Ludger Woessmann, 2012. "iPEHD - The ifo Prussian Economic History Database," CESifo Working Paper Series 3904, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
  6. Lipford, Jody W. & Tollison, Robert D., 2003. "Religious participation and income," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 249-260, June.
  7. Jonathan Gruber & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2006. "The Church vs the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition?," NBER Working Papers 12410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Becker, Sascha O. & Nagler, Markus & Woessmann, Ludger, 2014. "Education Promoted Secularization," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 186, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  2. Davide Cantoni & Franziska Kugler & Ludger Wößmann, 2014. "Der lange Schatten der Geschichte: Mechanismen der Persistenz in der Wirtschaftsgeschichte," Ifo Schnelldienst, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 67(02), pages 13-22, 01.
  3. Herzer, Dierk & Strulik, Holger, 2013. "Religiosity and income: A panel cointegration and causality analysis," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 168, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

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