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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.

    ()
    (University of Warwick)

  • Woessmann, Ludger

    ()
    (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7151.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, 2013, 103 (3), 539-544
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7151

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Keywords: Prussian economic history; secularization; religion;

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References

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  1. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2002. "People's Opium? Religion and Economic Attitudes," CEPR Discussion Papers 3588, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Hornung, Erik & Woessmann, Ludger, 2012. "iPEHD – The ifo Prussian Economic History Database," CEPR Discussion Papers 9128, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. Lipford, Jody W. & Tollison, Robert D., 2003. "Religious participation and income," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 249-260, June.
  5. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  6. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Becker, Sascha O. & Nagler, Markus & Woessmann, Ludger, 2014. "Education Promoted Secularization," IZA Discussion Papers 8016, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. 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.

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