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Reformation and Reallocation: Religious and Secular Economic Activity in Early Modern Germany

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  • Davide Cantoni
  • Jeremiah Dittmar
  • Noam Yuchtman

Abstract

The Protestant Reformation, beginning in 1517, was a first-order economic shock. We document its effects on the sectoral allocation of economic activity in Germany using highly disaggregated data. During the Reformation, particularly in Protestant regions, large numbers of monasteries were expropriated. University graduates shifted toward secular, rather than religious, occupations. Forward-looking university students shifted away from the study of religious sector-specific theology, toward secular fields. Construction activity in the religious sector declined, particularly in Protestant regions, while secular construction increased. These findings highlight the unintended consequences of the Reformation—a religious movement that contributed to Europe’s secularization.

Suggested Citation

  • Davide Cantoni & Jeremiah Dittmar & Noam Yuchtman, 2016. "Reformation and Reallocation: Religious and Secular Economic Activity in Early Modern Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 6218, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6218
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Huning, Thilo R. & Wahl, Fabian, 2017. "Lord of the lemons: Origin and dynamics of state capacity," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 22-2017, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    2. Seror, Avner, 2018. "A theory on the evolution of religious norms and economic prohibition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 416-427.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    protestant reformation; sectoral allocation; human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy

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