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Pre‐reformation Roots of the Protestant Ethic

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  • Thomas Barnebeck Andersen
  • Jeanet Bentzen
  • Carl‐Johan Dalgaard
  • Paul Sharp

Abstract

We hypothesize that cultural appreciation of hard work and thrift,the Protestant ethic according to Max Weber,had a pre-Reformation origin.The proximate source of these values was,according to the proposed theory,the Catholic Order of Cistercians.In support,we first document an impact from the Order on growth within the epicenter of the industrial revolution;English counties that were more exposed to Cistercian monasteries experienced faster productivity growth from the 13th century onwards. Consistent with a cultural influence,this impact is also found after the monasteries were dissolved in the 1530s.Second,we find that the values emphasized by Weber are relatively more pervasive in European regions where Cistercian monasteries were located historically,and that the legacy of the Cistercianscan be detected inpresent-day employment rates across European sub-regions.
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  • Thomas Barnebeck Andersen & Jeanet Bentzen & Carl‐Johan Dalgaard & Paul Sharp, 2017. "Pre‐reformation Roots of the Protestant Ethic," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 1756-1793, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:604:p:1756-1793
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecoj.2017.127.issue-604
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    Cited by:

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    3. Carmine Guerriero, 2020. "Endogenous Institutions and Economic Outcomes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 87(346), pages 364-405, April.
    4. Èric Gómez-i-Aznar, 2020. "Ad maiorem Dei gloriam. Numeracy levels in the Guarani Jesuit missions," Working Papers 0181, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    5. Ani Harutyunyan & Omer Ozak, 2016. "Culture, Diffusion, and Economic Development," LICOS Discussion Papers 38216, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    6. Ruth Maria Schüler, 2018. "Bildungsökonomik aus historischer Perspektive," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 78, November.
    7. Boranbay, Serra & Guerriero, Carmine, 2019. "Endogenous (in)formal institutions," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 921-945.
    8. Luca Nunziata & Lorenzo Rocco, 2016. "A tale of minorities: evidence on religious ethics and entrepreneurship," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 189-224, June.
    9. Matthias Basedau & Simone Gobien & Sebastian Prediger, 2018. "The Multidimensional Effects Of Religion On Socioeconomic Development: A Review Of The Empirical Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(4), pages 1106-1133, September.
    10. Ömer Özak, 2018. "Distance to the pre-industrial technological frontier and economic development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 175-221, June.
    11. Raphaël Franck & Oded Galor, 2017. "Flowers of Evil? Industrial Development and Long-Run Prosperity," NBER Working Papers 23701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Vollmer, Sebastian & Heldring, Leander & Robinson, James A., 2014. "Monks, Gents and Industrialists: The Long-Run Impact of the Dissolution of the English Monasteries," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100275, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    13. Minasyan, Anna & Zenker, Juliane & Klasen, Stephan & Vollmer, Sebastian, 2019. "Educational gender gaps and economic growth: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 199-217.
    14. 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.
    15. Hasan, Iftekhar & Kiesel, Konstantin & Noth, Felix, 2019. ""And forgive US our debts": Do Christian moralities influence over-indebtedness of individuals?," IWH Discussion Papers 8/2019, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    16. Leander Heldring & James A. Robinson & Sebastian Vollmer, 2015. "The Long-Run Impact of the Dissolution of the English Monasteries," NBER Working Papers 21450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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