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Not the Opium of the People: Income and Secularization in a Panel of Prussian Counties

Author

Listed:
  • Becker, Sascha

    (University of Warwick)

  • Woessmann, Ludger

    (University of Munich)

Abstract

The interplay between religion and the economy has occupied social scientists for long. We construct a unique panel of income and Protestant church attendance for six waves of up to 175 Prussian counties spanning 1886-1911. The data reveal a marked decline in church attendance coinciding with increasing income. The cross-section also shows a negative association between income and church attendance. But the association disappears in panel analyses, including firstdifferenced models of the 1886-1911 change, panel models with county and time fixed effects, and panel Granger-causality tests. The results cast doubt on causal interpretations of the religioneconomy nexus in Prussian secularization

Suggested Citation

  • Becker, Sascha & Woessmann, Ludger, 2013. "Not the Opium of the People: Income and Secularization in a Panel of Prussian Counties," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 110, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:110
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    File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/110.2013_becker.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 531-596.
    2. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Erik Hornung & Ludger Woessmann, 2014. "iPEHD--The ifo Prussian Economic History Database," Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 57-66.
    3. Lipford, Jody W. & Tollison, Robert D., 2003. "Religious participation and income," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 249-260, June.
    4. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "People's opium? Religion and economic attitudes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 225-282, January.
    5. Jonathan Gruber & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2006. "The Church vs the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition?," NBER Working Papers 12410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
    7. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
    8. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Davide Cantoni & Franziska Kugler & Ludger Wößmann, 2014. "Der lange Schatten der Geschichte: Mechanismen der Persistenz in der Wirtschaftsgeschichte," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 67(02), pages 13-22, January.
    2. Sascha O, Becker & Ludger Wößmann, 2015. "Social Cohesion, Religious Beliefs, and the Effect of Protestantism on Suicide," CESifo Working Paper Series 5288, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Becker, Sascha O. & Nagler, Markus & Woessmann, Ludger, 2014. "Education Promoted Secularization," CEPR Discussion Papers 9884, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Sriya Iyer, 2016. "The New Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 395-441.
    5. Bittschi, Benjamin & Borgloh, Sarah & Wigger, Berthold U., 2016. "Philanthropy in a secular society," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-021, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    6. repec:taf:applec:v:49:y:2017:i:30:p:2922-2938 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Dierk Herzer & Holger Strulik, 2017. "Religiosity and income: a panel cointegration and causality analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(30), pages 2922-2938, June.
    8. Bittschi, Benjamin & Borgloh, Sarah & Wigger, Berthold, 2015. "Secularization, tax policy and prosocial behavior," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113065, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Allen Bellas & Lea Kosnik, 2016. "Which Leading Journal Leads? Idea Diffusion in Economics Research Journals," Working Papers 1013, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religion; secularization; Prussian economic history;

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • 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
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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