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Religious orders and growth through cultural change in pre-industrial England

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  • Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck

    () (Department of Business and Economics)

  • Bentzen, Jeanet

    () (Department of Economics)

  • Dalgaard, Carl-Johan

    () (Department of Economics)

  • Sharp, Paul

    () (Department of Business and Economics)

Abstract

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 document that the Cistercians influenced comparative regional development across English counties, even after the monasteries were dissolved in the 1530s. Moreover, we find that the values emphasized by Weber are comparatively more pervasive in regions where Cistercian monasteries were found historically. Pre-industrial development in England may thus have been propelled by a process of growth through cultural change.

Suggested Citation

  • Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck & Bentzen, Jeanet & Dalgaard, Carl-Johan & Sharp, Paul, 2012. "Religious orders and growth through cultural change in pre-industrial England," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 12/2012, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sdueko:2012_012
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    Cited by:

    1. Ashraf, Quamrul & Galor, Oded, 2007. "Cultural Assimilation, Cultural Diffusion and the Origin of the Wealth of Nations," CEPR Discussion Papers 6444, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Carpantier, Jean-Francois & Litina, Anastasia, 2014. "Dissecting the Act of God: An Exploration of the Effect of Religion on Economic Activity," MPRA Paper 56267, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Nunn, Nathan, 2014. "Historical Development," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 7, pages 347-402 Elsevier.
    4. Fouka, Vasiliki & Schlaepfer, Alain, 2017. "Agricultural Returns to Labor and the Origins of Work Ethics," MPRA Paper 78556, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Anastasia Litina, 2016. "Natural land productivity, cooperation and comparative development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 351-408, December.
    6. İ. Semih Akçomak & Dinand Webbink & Bas Weel, 2016. "Why Did the Netherlands Develop So Early? The Legacy of the Brethren of the Common Life," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(593), pages 821-860, June.
    7. Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, 2013. "Origins of Religiousness: The Role of Natural Disasters," Discussion Papers 13-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cultural values; protestant ethic; economic development;

    JEL classification:

    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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