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

Author

Listed:
  • Nunziata, Luca

    () (University of Padova)

  • Rocco, Lorenzo

    () (University of Padova)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Nunziata, Luca & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2014. "A Tale of Minorities: Evidence on Religious Ethics and Entrepreneurship from Swiss Census Data," IZA Discussion Papers 7976, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7976
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 719-748, August.
    5. Davide Cantoni, 2015. "The Economic Effects Of The Protestant Reformation: Testing The Weber Hypothesis In The German Lands," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 561-598, August.
    6. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
    7. Holmes, Thomas J & Schmitz, James A, Jr, 1990. "A Theory of Entrepreneurship and Its Application to the Study of Business Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 265-294, April.
    8. 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.
    9. Parker,Simon C., 2006. "The Economics of Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521030632.
    10. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    entrepreneurship; self-employment; religion; culture; Protestantism; Catholicism; Switzerland;

    JEL classification:

    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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