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Adopting a new religion: The case of Protestantism in 16th Century Germany

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  • Davide Cantoni

Abstract

Using a rich dataset of territories and cities of the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century, this paper 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 can be explained through a theory of strategic neighbourhood interactions: in an uncertain legal context, 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 first. The model is tested in a panel dataset featuring the dates of introduction of the Reformation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1265.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1265

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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

Related research

Keywords: Protestantism; State religions; Germany; Spatial adoption of policies;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2005. "Which Countries Have State Religions?," Scholarly Articles 3710663, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Murat Iyigun, 2008. "Luther and Suleyman," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1465-1494, November.
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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," Munich Reprints in Economics 20495, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Akçomak, I. Semih & Webbink, Dinand & ter Weel, Bas, 2013. "Why Did the Netherlands Develop So Early? The Legacy of the Brethren of the Common Life," IZA Discussion Papers 7167, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  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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