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Religious Orders and Growth through Cultural Change in Pre-Industrial England

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Author Info

  • Thomas Barnebeck Andersen

    (Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark)

  • Jeanet Bentzen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Carl-Johan Dalgaard

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Paul Sharp

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

We advance the hypothesis that cultural values such as high work ethic and thrift, “the Protestant ethic” according to Max Weber, may have been diffused long before the Reformation, thereby importantly affecting the pre-industrial growth record. The source of pre-Reformation Protestant ethic, according to the proposed theory, was the Catholic Order of Cistercians. Using county-level data for England we find empirically that the frequency of Cistercian monasteries influenced county-level comparative development until 1801; that is, long after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The pre-industrial development of England may thus have been propelled by a process of growth through cultural change.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 11-07.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1107

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Keywords: Protestant ethic; Malthusian population dynamics; economic development;

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Hvor dybe er tillidens historiske rødder?
    by Christian Bjørnskov in Punditokraterne on 2011-05-13 15:59:56
  2. The Cistercians, culture, and economic development
    by UDADISI in UDADISI on 2012-07-26 14:13:00
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Cited by:
  1. Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, 2013. "Origins of Religiousness: The Role of Natural Disasters," Discussion Papers 13-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  2. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Cultural Diversity, Geographical Isolation, and the Origin of the Wealth of Nations," NBER Working Papers 17640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Nunn, Nathan, 2014. "Historical Development," Handbook of Economic Growth, Elsevier, in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 7, pages 347-402 Elsevier.
  4. Bas ter Weel & Semih Akcomak & Dinand Webbink, 2013. "Why Did the Netherlands Develop so Early? The Legacy of the Brethren of the Common Life," CPB Discussion Paper 228, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  5. Carpantier, Jean-Francois & Litina, Anastasia, 2014. "Dissecting the Act of God: An Exploration of the Effect of Religion on Economic Activity," MPRA Paper 56267, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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