From Farmers to Merchants, Conversions and Diaspora: Human Capital and Jewish History
From the end of the second century CE, Judaism enforced a religious norm requiring fathers to educate their sons. We present evidence supporting our thesis that this change had a major influence on Jewish economic and demographic history. First, the high individual and community cost of educating children in subsistence farming economies (2nd to 7th centuries) prompted voluntary conversions of Jews that account for a share of the reduction from 4.5 to 1.2 million. Second, the Jewish farmers who invested in education gained the comparative advantage and incentive to enter skilled occupations during the urbanization in the Abbasid empire in the Near East (8th and 9th centuries) and they did select themselves into these occupations. Third, as merchants the Jews invested even more in education-a precondition for the mailing network and common court system that endowed them with trading skills demanded all over the world. Fourth, the Jews generated a voluntary diaspora within the Muslim Empire and later to Western Europe. Fifth, the majority of world Jewry lived in the Near East when the Mongol invasions in the 1250s brought this region back to a subsistence farming economy in which many Jews found it difficult to enforce the religious norm, and hence converted, as it had happened centuries earlier. (JEL: J1, J2, N3, O1, Z12, Z13) (c) 2007 by the European Economic Association.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 5 (2007)
Issue (Month): 5 (09)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/jeea|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/jeea|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:5:y:2007:i:5:p:885-926. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Anna Pollock-Nelson)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.