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The Protestant ethic and entrepreneurship: Evidence from religious minorities in the former Holy Roman Empire

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  • Nunziata, Luca
  • Rocco, Lorenzo

Abstract

We investigate the effect of Protestantism versus Catholicism on the decision to become an entrepreneur in former Holy Roman Empire regions. Our research design exploits religious minorities' strong attachment to religious ethic and the predetermined historical determination of religious minorities' geographical distribution in the 1500s as a result of the “cuius regio eius religio” (whose realm, his religion) rule. We find that today Protestantism increases the probability to be an entrepreneur by around 5 percentage points with respect to Catholicism, a result that survives to a battery of robustness checks. We explicit the assumptions underlying the identification strategy and provide an extensive testing of their validity by making use of several European datasets.

Suggested Citation

  • Nunziata, Luca & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2018. "The Protestant ethic and entrepreneurship: Evidence from religious minorities in the former Holy Roman Empire," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 27-43.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:51:y:2018:i:c:p:27-43
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2017.04.001
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Entrepreneurship; Religion; Culture; Protestantism; Catholicism;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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