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

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  • Becker, Sascha O.

    ()
    (University of Warwick)

  • Woessmann, Ludger

    ()
    (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3837.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2008, 110 (4), 777–805
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3837

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Keywords: Protestantism; education; gender gap;

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References

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  1. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2007. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," CESifo Working Paper Series 1987, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2004. "Jewish Occupational Selection: Education, Restrictions, or Minorities?," IZA Discussion Papers 1224, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Benno Torgler, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History: A Comment on Becker and Woessmann," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 248, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
  4. Psacharopoulos, George & Patrinos, Harry Anthony, 2002. "Returns to investment in education : a further update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2881, The World Bank.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Sascha Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2010. "The trade-off between fertility and education: evidence from before the demographic transition," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 177-204, September.
  2. Boppart, Timo & Falkinger, Josef & Grossmann, Volker, 2011. "Protestantism and Education: Reading (the Bible) and Other Skills," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48732, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  3. 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.
  4. Graziella Bertocchi, 2008. "The Enfranchisement of Women and the Welfare State," Discussion Papers 4_2008, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.
  8. Jared Rubin, 2014. "Printing and Protestants: An Empirical Test of the Role of Printing in the Reformation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(2), pages 270-286, May.
  9. 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.

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