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Pre-Reformation Roots of the Protestant Ethic

Listed author(s):
  • Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck

    (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Bentzen, Jeanet

    (University of Copenhagen)

  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan

    (University of Copenhagen)

  • Sharp, Paul

    (University of Southern Denmark)

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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File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/137_2013_andersen.pdf
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Paper provided by Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) in its series CAGE Online Working Paper Series with number 137.

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Date of creation: 2013
Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:137
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