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Adopting a New Religion: The Case of Protestantism in 16th Century Germany

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  • Cantoni, Davide

Abstract

Using a dataset of territories and cities of the Holy Roman Empire in the sixteenth century, this article investigates the determinants of adoption and diffusion of Protestantism as a state religion. A territory’s distance to Wittenberg, the city where Martin Luther taught, is a major determinant of adoption. This finding is consistent with a theory of strategic neighbourhood interactions: introducing the Reformation was a risky enterprise for territorial lords and had higher prospects of success if powerful neighbouring states committed to the new faith. The actual spatial and temporal patterns of expansion of Protestantism are analysed in a panel dataset.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 20004.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Publication status: Published in Economic Journal 560 122(2012): pp. 502-531
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20004

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  1. Murat Iyigun, 2008. "Luther and Suleyman," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1465-1494, November.
  2. Sharun W. Mukand & Dani Rodrik, 2005. "In Search of the Holy Grail: Policy Convergence, Experimentation, and Economic Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 374-383, March.
  3. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2005. "Which Countries Have State Religions?," Scholarly Articles 3710663, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 531-596, May.
  5. Timo Boppart & Josef Falkinger & Volker Grossmann & Ulrich Woitek & Gabriela Wüthrich, 2008. "Qualifying Religion: The Role of Plural Identities for Educational Production," IEW - Working Papers 360, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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Cited by:
  1. Falck, Oliver & Bauernschuster, Stefan, 2013. "Culture and the Spatial Dissemination of Ideas Evidence from Froebel's Kindergarten Movement," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79704, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  2. 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.
  3. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00844446 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Julia Cagé & Valeria Rueda, 2013. "The long Term Effects of the Printing Press in Sub Saharan Africa," PSE Working Papers halshs-00844446, HAL.

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