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Protestantism and Education: Reading (the Bible) and other Skills

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  • Timo Boppart
  • Josef Falkinger
  • Volker Grossmann

Abstract

During industrialization, Protestants were more literate than Catholics. This paper investigates whether this fact may be led back to the intrinsic motivation of Protestants to read the bible and whether other education motives were involved as well. We employ a historical data set from Switzerland which allows us to differentiate between different cognitive skills: reading, numeracy, essay writing and Swiss history. We develop an estimation strategy to examine whether the impact of religious denomination was particularly large with respect to reading capabilities. We find support for this hypothesis. However, Protestants’ education motives went beyond reading the bible.

Suggested Citation

  • Timo Boppart & Josef Falkinger & Volker Grossmann, 2011. "Protestantism and Education: Reading (the Bible) and other Skills," CESifo Working Paper Series 3314, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3314
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Becker, Sascha O. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2010. "The effect of Protestantism on education before the industrialization: Evidence from 1816 Prussia," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 224-228, May.
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    7. Tiago Cavalcanti & Stephen Parente & Rui Zhao, 2007. "Religion in macroeconomics: a quantitative analysis of Weber’s thesis," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 32(1), pages 105-123, July.
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    14. Boppart, Timo & Falkinger, Josef & Grossmann, Volker & Woitek, Ulrich & Wüthrich, Gabriela, 2013. "Under which conditions does religion affect educational outcomes?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 242-266.
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    Cited by:

    1. Osikominu, Aderonke & Grossmann, Volker & Osterfeld, Marius, 2014. "Are Sociocultural Factors Important for Studying a Science University Major?," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100404, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Blum, Matthias & Strebel, Matthias, 2016. "Max Weber and the First World War: Protestant and Catholic living standards in Germany, 1915–1919," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(03), pages 699-719, September.
    3. 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.
    4. Grossmann, Volker & Osikominu, Aderonke & Osterfeld, Marius, 2016. "Sociocultural Background and Choice of STEM Majors at University," CEPR Discussion Papers 11250, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Christoph Basten & Frank Betz, 2012. "Beyond Work Ethic," KOF Working papers 12-309, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cognitive skills; education; reading capability; religious denomination; protestant reformation;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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