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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
  • Woessmann, Ludger

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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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/515
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Stirling, Division of Economics in its series Stirling Economics Discussion Papers with number 2008-20.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:stl:stledp:2008-20

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Postal: Division of Economics, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
Phone: +44 (0)1786 467473
Fax: +44 (0)1786 467469
Web page: http://www.econ.stir.ac.uk/
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Keywords: Protestantism; education; gender gap;

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  1. 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.
  2. Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2004. "Jewish Occupational Selection: Education, Restrictions or Minorities?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4604, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2004. "Returns to investment in education: a further update," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 111-134.
  6. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Graziella Bertocchi, 2008. "The Enfranchisement of Women and the Welfare State," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 018, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
  3. Becker, Sascha & Francesco, Cinirella & Woessmann, Ludger, 2009. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from before the Demographic Transition," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2009-17, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Wößmann, Ludger, 2012. "The effect of investment in children’s education on fertility in 1816 Prussia," Munich Reprints in Economics 20197, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  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. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

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