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Religious Orders and Growth through Cultural Change in Pre-Industrial England

  • Thomas Barnebeck Andersen
  • Jeanet Bentzen
  • Carl-Johan Dalgaard
  • Paul Sharp

We advance the hypothesis that cultural values such as high work ethics and thrift, “the Protestant ethic” according to Max Weber, may have been diffused long before the Reformation, thereby importantly affecting the pre-industrial growth record. The source of pre-Reformation Protestant ethics, according to the proposed theory, was the Catholic Order of Cistercians. Using county-level data for England we find empirically that the frequency of Cistercian monasteries influenced county-level comparative development until 1801; that is, long after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The pre-industrial development of England may thus have been propelled by a process of growth through cultural change.

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Paper provided by DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade in its series DEGIT Conference Papers with number c015_036.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c015_036
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