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Beyond Work Ethic: Religion, Individual and Political Preferences

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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. We use a Fuzzy Spatial Regression Discontinuity Design to exploit a historical quasi-experiment in Western Switzerland, where in the 16th century a hitherto homogeneous region was split and one part assigned to adopt Protestantism. We find that Reformed Protestantism reduces referenda voting for more leisure by 12, for redistribution by 7, and for government intervention by 6 percentage points. These preferences translate into higher per capita income as well as greater income inequality.

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    File URL: http://www.kof.ethz.ch/publications/science/pdf/wp_309.pdf
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    Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 12-309.

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    Length: 42 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:12-309
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    1. Rajeev Dehejia & Thomas DeLeire & Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2005. "Insuring Consumption and Happiness Through Religious Organizations," NBER Working Papers 11576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Benito Arruñada, 2004. "Protestants and Catholics: Similar work ethic, different social ethic," Economics Working Papers 743, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2010.
    3. Huber, John D. & Stanig, Piero, 2011. "Church-state separation and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 828-836.
    4. Huber, John D. & Stanig, Piero, 2011. "Church-state separation and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 828-836, August.
    5. 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.
    6. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 531-596, May.
    7. Gruber, Jonathan & Hungerman, Daniel M., 2007. "Faith-based charity and crowd-out during the great depression," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1043-1069, June.
    8. Boppart, Timo & Falkinger, Josef & Grossmann, Volker, 2011. "Protestantism and Education: Reading (the Bible) and Other Skills," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48732, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Timo Boppart & Josef Falkinger & Volker Grossmann & Ulrich Woitek & Gabriela Wüthrich, 2008. "Qualifying Religion: The Role of Plural Identities for Educational Production," IEW - Working Papers 360, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    10. Davide Cantoni, 2010. "The Economic Effects of the Protestant Reformation: Testing the Weber Hypothesis in the German Lands," Working Papers 524, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    11. Imbens, Guido W. & Kalyanaraman, Karthik, 2009. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," IZA Discussion Papers 3995, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 8460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Susanne Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 15664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Technical Working Papers 0337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," NBER Working Papers 14723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2011. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 157-79, February.
    17. Beatrix Brügger & Rafael Lalive & Andreas Steinhauer & Josef Zweimüller, 2011. "The demand for social insurance: does culture matter?," ECON - Working Papers 041, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    18. Alberto F. Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2009. "Preferences for Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 14825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. 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).
    20. repec:oup:restud:v:79:y::i:3:p:933-959 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Hungerman, Daniel M., 2005. "Are church and state substitutes? Evidence from the 1996 welfare reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2245-2267, December.
    22. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, June.
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