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Marx vs. Weber: does religion affect politics and the economy?

  • Basten, Christoph
  • Betz, Frank
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    We investigate the effect of Reformed Protestantism, relative to Catholicism, on preferences for leisure and for redistribution and intervention in the economy. With a Fuzzy Spatial Regression Discontinuity Design, we exploit a historical quasiexperiment in Western Switzerland, where in the 16th century a so far homogeneous region was split and one part assigned to convert to Protestantism. We find that Reformed Protestantism reduces the fraction of citizens voting for more leisure by 13, and that voting for more redistribution and government intervention by respectively 3 and 11 percentage points. These preferences are found to translate into greater income inequality, but we find no robust effect on average income. JEL Classification: Z12, D72, H23, N33

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    File URL: http://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/pdf/scpwps/ecbwp1393.pdf
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    Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1393.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20111393
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    1. Brügger, Beatrix & Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2009. "Does Culture Affect Unemployment? Evidence from the Röstigraben," CEPR Discussion Papers 7405, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Dehejia, Rajeev & DeLeire, Thomas & Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2005. "Insuring Consumption and Happiness through Religious Organizations," Working Paper Series rwp05-047, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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    4. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
    5. Cantoni, Davide, 2013. "The Economic Effects of the Protestant Reformation: Testing the Weber Hypothesis in the German Lands," Discussion Papers in Economics 14811, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    6. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2010. "Optimal bandwidth choice for the regression discontinuity estimator," CeMMAP working papers CWP05/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal Of Fortune: Geography And Institutions In The Making Of The Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
    8. Alberto Alesina & Nicola Fuchs-Schundeln, 2005. "Good bye Lenin (or not?): The effect of Communism on people's preferences," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2076, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    9. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Benno Torgler, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History: A Comment on Becker and Woessmann," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 248, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
    10. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola, 2009. "Preferences for Redistribution," IZA Discussion Papers 4056, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Becker, Sascha O. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "Luther and the girls: Religious denomination and the female education gap in nineteenth-century Prussia," Munich Reprints in Economics 20256, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    12. Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2008. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 14268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Becker, Sascha O. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2007. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," Discussion Papers in Economics 1366, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    14. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    15. repec:pse:psecon:2005-43 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Jörg L. Spenkuch, 2010. "The Protestant Ethic and Work: Micro Evidence from Contemporary Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 330, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    17. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00590570 is not listed on IDEAS
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