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A Tale of Minorities: Evidence on Religious Ethics and Entrepreneurship from Swiss Census Data

  • Nunziata, Luca

    ()

    (University of Padova)

  • Rocco, Lorenzo

    ()

    (University of Padova)

Does Protestantism favour the market economy more than Catholicism does? We provide a novel quasi-experimental way to answer this question by comparing Protestant and Catholic minorities using Swiss census data from 1970 to 2000. Exploiting the strong adhesion of religious minorities to their confession's ethical principles and the historical determination of the geographical distribution of confessions across Swiss cantons, we find that Protestantism is associated with a significantly higher propensity for entrepreneurship. The estimated difference ranges between 2.3 and 4.4 percentage points. Our findings are robust to a number of robustness checks, including a placebo test.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7976.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7976
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  1. Alberto Bisin & Giorgio Topa & Thierry Verdier, 2004. "Religious Intermarriage and Socialization in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 615-664, June.
  2. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
  3. Nunziata, Luca & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2014. "The Protestant Ethic and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Religious Minorities from the Former Holy Roman Empire," MPRA Paper 53566, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  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. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1999. "Beyond the Melting Pot: Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," Papers 1999-10, Laval - Laboratoire Econometrie.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521828130 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Holmes, T.J. & Schmitz, J.A., 1988. "A Theory Of Enterpreneurship And Its Application To The Study Of Business Transfers," Working papers 8827, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  8. 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.
  9. Simon C. Parker & Yacine Belghitar, 2006. "What Happens to Nascent Entrepreneurs? An Econometric Analysis of the PSED," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 81-101, August.
  10. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1979. "A General Equilibrium Entrepreneurial Theory of Firm Formation Based on Risk Aversion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 719-48, August.
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