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The Protestant Ethic and Work: Micro Evidence from Contemporary Germany

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  • Jörg L. Spenkuch

Abstract

Few theories in the social sciences have gained more widespread acceptance than Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism—despite a lack of conclusive empirical evidence. At the core of Weber’s theory lies a connection between Protestantism and attitudes toward work. Using micro-data from contemporary Germany, this paper investigates the impact of Protestantism on economic outcomes and whether any such connection still exists. To break the endogeneity in religious affiliation the paper exploits the fact that the geographic distribution of Catholics and Protestants is an artifact of a provision in the Peace of Augsburg in 1555. Reduced form and instrumental variable estimates indicate that, even today, Protestantism leads to higher earnings through increased hours of work, and substantially more self-employment. Institutional factors, or differences in human capital acquisition cannot account for this effect. Instead, the data point to an explanation based on individual values akin to a Protestant Ethic.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 330.

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Length: 8 ; Anh. p.
Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp330

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Some benefits of religion
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-02-10 13:54:16
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Cited by:
  1. Baele, Lieven & Farooq, Moazzam & Ongena, Steven, 2011. "Of Religion and Redemption: Evidence from Default on Islamic Loans," CEPR Discussion Papers 8504, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Nunziata, Luca & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2011. "The Implications of Cultural Background on Labour Market Choices: The Case of Religion and Entrepreneurship," IZA Discussion Papers 6114, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. 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.
  4. Libman, Alexander, 2012. "Перераспределительные Конфликты И Факторы Культуры В Новой Политической Экономии
    [Redistributive Conflicts and Culture in the
    ," MPRA Paper 48192, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Baele, L. & Farooq, M. & Ongena, S., 2012. "Of Religion and Redemption: Evidence from Default on Islamic Loans (Replaces CentER DP 2010-136)," Discussion Paper 2012-014, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  6. Davide Cantoni, 2010. "The Economic Effects of the Protestant Reformation: Testing the Weber Hypothesis in the German Lands," Working Papers 524, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  7. Anja Koebrich Leon, 2013. "Does Cultural Heritage affect Employment decisions – Empirical Evidence for Second Generation Immigrants in Germany," Working Paper Series in Economics 270, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  8. Basten, Christoph & Betz, Frank, 2011. "Marx vs. Weber: does religion affect politics and the economy?," Working Paper Series 1393, European Central Bank.
  9. Farooq, M., 2011. "Essays on financial intermediation and markets," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-4944287, Tilburg University.
  10. Filipe R. Campante & David H. Yanagizawa-Drott, 2013. "Does Religion Affect Economic Growth and Happiness? Evidence from Ramadan," NBER Working Papers 19768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. di Mauro, Filippo & Caristi, Pierluigi & Couderc, Stéphane & di Maria, Angela & Ho, Lauren & Grewal, Beljeet Kaur & Masciantonio, Sergio & Ongena, Steven & Zaher, Sajjad, 2013. "Islamic finance in Europe," Occasional Paper Series 146, European Central Bank.
  12. Anja Koebrich Leon, 2013. "Religion and Economic Outcomes – Household Savings Behavior in the USA," Working Paper Series in Economics 268, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  13. Anja Köbrich León, 2013. "Does Cultural Heritage Affect Employment Decisions: Empirical Evidence for First- and Second Generation Immigrants in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 553, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  14. Nunziata, Luca & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2014. "The Protestant Ethic and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Religious Minorities from the Former Holy Roman Empire," MPRA Paper 53566, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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