IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp1224.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Jewish Occupational Selection: Education, Restrictions, or Minorities?

Author

Listed:
  • Botticini, Maristella

    (Boston University)

  • Eckstein, Zvi

    (Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya)

Abstract

This paper documents the major features of Jewish economic history in the first millennium to explain the distinctive occupational selection of the Jewish people into urban, skilled occupations. We show that many Jews entered urban occupations in the eighth-ninth centuries in the Muslim Empire when there were no restrictions on their economic activities, most of them were farmers, and they were a minority in all locations. Therefore, arguments based on restrictions or minority status cannot explain the occupational transition of the Jews at that time. Our thesis is that the occupational selection of the Jews was the outcome of the widespread literacy prompted by a religious and educational reform in the first century ce, which was implemented in the third to the eighth century. We present detailed information on the implementation of this religious and educational reform in Judaism based on the Talmud, archeological evidence on synagogues, the Cairo Geniza documents, and the Responsa literature. We also provide evidence of the economic returns to Jewish religious literacy.

Suggested Citation

  • Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2004. "Jewish Occupational Selection: Education, Restrictions, or Minorities?," IZA Discussion Papers 1224, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1224
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://docs.iza.org/dp1224.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2002. "From Farmers to Merchants: A Human Capital Interpretation of Jewish Economic History," IZA Discussion Papers 670, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Greif, Avner, 1989. "Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 857-882, December.
    3. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    5. Brenner, Reuven & Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1981. "The Economics of the Diaspora: Discrimination and Occupational Structure," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 517-534, April.
    6. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-950, October.
    7. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-548, June.
    8. Carlton, Dennis W & Weiss, Avi, 2001. "The Economics of Religion, Jewish Survival, and Jewish Attitudes toward Competition in Torah Education," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 253-275, January.
    9. Temin, Peter, 1997. "Is it Kosher to Talk about Culture?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 267-287, June.
    10. repec:cai:popine:popu_p1971_26n6_1174 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2002. "From Farmers to Merchants: A Human Capital Interpretation of Jewish Economic History," IZA Discussion Papers 670, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Teodor Sedlarski, 2012. "Institutional strengthening of the free market in the new economic history," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 5, pages 83-109.
    3. Hasan LUBNA, 2011. "Rule Of Law Legal Development And Economic Growth Perspectives For Pakistan," Journal of Advanced Research in Law and Economics, ASERS Publishing, vol. 2(1), pages 48-59.
    4. Djankov, Simeon & Glaeser, Edward & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The new comparative economics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 595-619, December.
    5. Nunn, Nathan, 2014. "Historical Development," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 7, pages 347-402, Elsevier.
    6. Lubna Hasan, 2007. "Myths and Realities of Long-run Development: A Look at Deeper Determinants," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 46(1), pages 19-44.
    7. Allen, Franklin & Qian, Jun & Qian, Meijun, 2005. "Law, finance, and economic growth in China," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 57-116, July.
    8. Vania Licio, 2021. "When History Leaves a Mark: A New Measure of Roman Roads," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 7(1), pages 1-35, March.
    9. Beck, T.H.L., 2010. "Legal Institutions and Economic Development," Other publications TiSEM 8aa07b48-ce55-4cf6-8754-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    10. Yu, Shu & Beugelsdijk, Sjoerd & de Haan, Jakob, 2015. "Trade, trust and the rule of law," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 102-115.
    11. Desiree A. Desierto, 2008. "The Dynamics of Economic Integration," DEGIT Conference Papers c013_029, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    12. Leeson, Peter T., 2005. "Endogenizing fractionalization," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 75-98, June.
    13. Heineck, Guido & Süssmuth, Bernd, 2013. "A different look at Lenin’s legacy: Social capital and risk taking in the Two Germanies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 789-803.
    14. Litina, Anastasia, 2012. "Unfavorable land endowment, cooperation, and reversal of fortune," MPRA Paper 39702, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Roberto Foa & Anna Nemirovskaya & Elena Mostovova, 2013. "Internal Empires I: Social Institutions of the Frontier," HSE Working papers WP BRP 09/SOC/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    16. Konstantin Yanovsky & Ilia Zatcovetzky & Sergei Zhavoronkov & Ekaterina Reva, 2013. "Modern Anti-Capitalistic Ideologies," Working Papers 0059, Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, revised 2013.
    17. Mika Kallioinen, 2017. "Inter‐communal institutions in medieval trade," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1131-1152, November.
    18. M. Leroch & C. Reggiani & G. Rossini & E. Zucchelli, 2012. "Religious attitudes and home bias: theory and evidence from a pilot study," Working Papers wp811, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    19. James B. Ang, 2015. "Agricultural Legacy, Individualistic Culture, and Techology Adoption," Economic Growth Centre Working Paper Series 1506, Nanyang Technological University, School of Social Sciences, Economic Growth Centre.
    20. W. Bentley MacLeod, 2006. "Reputations, Relationships and the Enforcement of Incomplete Contracts," CESifo Working Paper Series 1730, CESifo.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    occupational choice; migration; Jewish economic history; human capital; first millennium; religion and social norms;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1224. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/izaaade.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Holger Hinte (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/izaaade.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.