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

Author

Listed:
  • 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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    File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/288-2016_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, vol. 124(2), pages 531-596.
    2. Raymond de Roover, 1955. "Scholastic Economics: Survival and Lasting Influence from the Sixteenth Century to Adam Smith," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(2), pages 161-190.
    3. Maristella Botticini & Zvi Eckstein, 2007. "From Farmers to Merchants, Conversions and Diaspora: Human Capital and Jewish History," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 885-926, September.
    4. Finley, Theresa & Koyama, Mark, 2016. "Plague, Politics, and Pogroms: The Black Death, Rule of Law, and the persecution of Jews in the Holy Roman Empire," MPRA Paper 72110, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Jeremiah E. Dittmar, 2011. "Information Technology and Economic Change: The Impact of The Printing Press," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1133-1172.
    6. Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2005. "Jewish Occupational Selection: Education, Restrictions, or Minorities?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(04), pages 922-948, December.
    7. Luigi Pascali, 2016. "Banks and Development: Jewish Communities in the Italian Renaissance and Current Economic Performance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(1), pages 140-158, March.
    8. Jha, Saumitra, 2008. "Trade, Institutions and Religious Tolerance: Evidence from India," Research Papers 2004, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    9. Luigi Pascali, 2016. "Banks and Development: Jewish Communities in the Italian Renaissance and Current Economic Performance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(1), pages 140-158, March.
    10. Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2014. "The Economics of Guilds," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 169-192, Fall.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Remi Jedwab & Mark Koyama & Noel Johnson, "undated". "Negative Shocks and Mass Persecutions: Evidence from the Black Death," Working Papers 2017-4, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    3. 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.
    4. 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).
    5. Grosfeld, Irena & Sakalli, Seyhun Orcan & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2017. "Middleman Minorities and Ethnic Violence: Anti-Jewish Pogroms in the Russian Empire," CEPR Discussion Papers 12154, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • 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
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption

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