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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 and CAGE)

  • Ludger Woessmann, Ludger

    (University of Munich and Ifo Institute)

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. Key words: Religion ; secularization ; Prussian economic history JEL classification: Z12 ; N33

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 1003.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1003

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  1. Lipford, Jody W. & Tollison, Robert D., 2003. "Religious participation and income," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 249-260, June.
  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. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2002. "People's Opium? Religion and Economic Attitudes," NBER Working Papers 9237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  7. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
  8. 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.
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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. Sascha O. Becker & Markus Nagler & Ludger Woessmann, 2014. "Education Promoted Secularization," CESifo Working Paper Series 4684, CESifo Group Munich.
  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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