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Religion, Division of Labor, and Conflict: Anti-semitism in Germany over 600 Years

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  • Sascha O. Becker
  • Luigi Pascali

Abstract

We study the role of economic incentives in shaping the coexistence of Jews, Catholics, and Protestants, using novel data from Germany for 1,000+ cities. The Catholic usury ban and higher literacy rates gave Jews a specific advantage in the moneylending sector. Following the Protestant Reformation (1517), the Jews lost these advantages in regions that became Protestant. We show (i) a change in the geography of anti-Semitism with persecutions of Jews and anti-Jewish publications becoming more common in Protestant areas relative to Catholic areas; (ii) a more pronounced change in cities where Jews had already established themselves as moneylenders. These findings are consistent with the interpretation that, following the Protestant Reformation, Jews living in Protestant regions were exposed to competition with the Christian majority, especially in moneylending, leading to an increase in anti-Semitism.

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  • Sascha O. Becker & Luigi Pascali, 2019. "Religion, Division of Labor, and Conflict: Anti-semitism in Germany over 600 Years," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(5), pages 1764-1804, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:109:y:2019:i:5:p:1764-1804
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20170279
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    3. Becker, Sascha O. & Francisco J. Pino & Vidal-Robert, Jordi, 2021. "Freedom of the Press? Catholic Censorship during the Counter-Reformation," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1356, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. Do, Quoc-Anh & Galbiati, Roberto & Marx, Benjamin & Ortiz Serrano, Miguel Angel, 2020. "J'Accuse! Antisemitism and Financial Markets in the time of the Dreyfus Affair," CEPR Discussion Papers 14826, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Besley, Timothy & Fetzer, Thiemo & Mueller, Hannes, 2019. "Terror and Tourism: The Economic Consequences of Media Coverage," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 449, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    6. Hornung, Erik, 2019. "Diasporas, diversity, and economic activity: Evidence from 18th-century Berlin," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 1-1.
    7. Carvalho, Jean-Paul & Koyama, Mark, 2016. "Jewish emancipation and schism: Economic development and religious change," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 562-584.
    8. Irena Grosfeld & Seyhun Orcan Sakalli & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2020. "Middleman Minorities and Ethnic Violence: Anti-Jewish Pogroms in the Russian Empire," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(1), pages 289-342.
    9. Becker, Sascha O. & Pfaff, Steven & Rubin, Jared, 2016. "Causes and consequences of the Protestant Reformation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1-25.
    10. Müller, Karsten & Schwarz, Carlo, 2018. "Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 373, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    11. Hasan, Iftekhar & Noth, Felix & Tonzer, Lena, 2020. "Cultural norms and corporate fraud: Evidence from the Volkswagen scandal," IWH Discussion Papers 24/2020, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    12. Remi Jedwab & Noel D. Johnson & Mark Koyama, 2019. "Negative shocks and mass persecutions: evidence from the Black Death," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 345-395, December.
    13. Jeffry Frieden & Arthur Silve, 2021. "The political reception of innovations," Cahiers de recherche 2105, Centre de recherche sur les risques, les enjeux économiques, et les politiques publiques.
    14. Iyer, S., 2020. "Religion and Discrimination: A Review Essay of Persecution and Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 2084, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    15. Panza, Laura & Swee, Eik, 2020. "Inter-Ethnic Income Inequality and Conflict Intensification in Mandate Palestine," CEPR Discussion Papers 14366, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Hasan, Iftekhar & Noth, Felix & Tonzer, Lena, 2019. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against your customers: Cultural norms and the Volkswagen scandal," IWH Discussion Papers 21/2019, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    17. Carillo, Mario Francesco, 2018. "Fascistville: Mussolini's New Towns and the Persistence of Neo-Fascism," MPRA Paper 96236, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 03 Oct 2019.
    18. J. Mark Ramseyer, 2021. "Social capital and the problem of opportunistic leadership: the example of Koreans in Japan," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 52(1), pages 1-32, August.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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