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Religion, Division of Labor and Conflict: Anti-Semitism in German Regions over 600 Years

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  • Becker, Sascha O.

    (University of Warwick)

  • Pascali, Luigi

    (Pompeu Fabra University)

Abstract

Anti-Semitism continues to be a widespread societal problem rooted deeply in history. Using novel city-level data from Germany for more than 2,000 cities and county-level data, we study the role of economic incentives in shaping the co-existence of Jews, Catholics and Protestants. The Catholic ban on usury gave Jews living in Catholic regions a specific advantage in the moneylending sector. Following the Protestant Reformation (1517), the Jews lost this advantage in regions that became Protestant but not in those regions that remained Catholic. We show that 1) the Protestant Reformation induced a change in the geography of anti-Semitism with persecutions of Jews and anti-Jewish publications becoming more common in Protestant areas relative to Catholic areas; 2) this change was more pronounced in cities where Jews had already established themselves as moneylenders; 3) the Reformation reduced the specialization of Jews in the financial sector in Protestant regions but not in Catholic regions. We interpret these findings as evidence that, following the Protestant Reformation, the Jews living in Protestant regions lost their comparative advantage in lending. This change exposed them to competition with the Christian majority leading, eventually, to an increase in anti-Semitism.

Suggested Citation

  • Becker, Sascha O. & Pascali, Luigi, 2016. "Religion, Division of Labor and Conflict: Anti-Semitism in German Regions over 600 Years," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 288, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:288
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    3. Do, Quoc-Anh & Galbiati, Roberto & Marx, Benjamin & Ortiz Serrano, Miguel Angel, 2020. "J'Accuse! Antisemitism and Financial Markets in the time of the Dreyfus Affair," CEPR Discussion Papers 14826, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Besley, Timothy & Fetzer, Thiemo & Mueller, Hannes, 2019. "Terror and Tourism: The Economic Consequences of Media Coverage," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 449, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. Hornung, Erik, 2019. "Diasporas, diversity, and economic activity: Evidence from 18th-century Berlin," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 1-1.
    6. Carvalho, Jean-Paul & Koyama, Mark, 2016. "Jewish emancipation and schism: Economic development and religious change," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 562-584.
    7. Irena Grosfeld & Seyhun Orcan Sakalli & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2020. "Middleman Minorities and Ethnic Violence: Anti-Jewish Pogroms in the Russian Empire," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(1), pages 289-342.
    8. 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.
    9. Müller, Karsten & Schwarz, Carlo, 2018. "Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 373, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    10. Hasan, Iftekhar & Noth, Felix & Tonzer, Lena, 2020. "Cultural norms and corporate fraud: Evidence from the Volkswagen scandal," IWH Discussion Papers 24/2020, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    11. Remi Jedwab & Noel D. Johnson & Mark Koyama, 2019. "Negative shocks and mass persecutions: evidence from the Black Death," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 345-395, December.
    12. Iyer, S., 2020. "Religion and Discrimination: A Review Essay of Persecution and Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 2084, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    13. Panza, Laura & Swee, Eik, 2020. "Inter-Ethnic Income Inequality and Conflict Intensification in Mandate Palestine," CEPR Discussion Papers 14366, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Hasan, Iftekhar & Noth, Felix & Tonzer, Lena, 2019. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against your customers: Cultural norms and the Volkswagen scandal," IWH Discussion Papers 21/2019, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    15. Carillo, Mario Francesco, 2018. "Fascistville: Mussolini's New Towns and the Persistence of Neo-Fascism," MPRA Paper 96236, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 03 Oct 2019.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Anti-Semitism; Religion; Conflict; Division of Labor JEL Classification: Z12; O18; N33; N93; D73;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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