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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. Beatrix Brügger & Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweimüller, 2009. "Does Culture Affect Unemployment? Evidence from the Röstigraben," CESifo Working Paper Series 2714, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Susanne Schennach & James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," 2007 Meeting Papers 973, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. 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.
    4. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, June.
    5. Dehejia, Rajeev & DeLeire, Thomas & Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2005. "Insuring Consumption and Happiness through Religious Organizations," Working Paper Series rwp05-047, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    6. Timo Boppart & Josef Falkinger & Volker Grossmann, 2014. "Protestantism And Education: Reading (The Bible) And Other Skills," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(2), pages 874-895, 04.
    7. Timo Boppart & Josef Falkinger & Volker Grossmann & Ulrich Woitek & Gabriela Wüthrich, 2008. "Qualifying Religion: The Role of Plural Identities for Educational Production," CESifo Working Paper Series 2283, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Davide Cantoni, 2010. "The economic effects of the Protestant Reformation: Testing the Weber hypothesis in the German Lands," Economics Working Papers 1260, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    9. 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, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
    10. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola, 2009. "Preferences for Redistribution," IZA Discussion Papers 4056, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
    12. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Technical Working Papers 0337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Becker, Sascha O. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," Munich Reprints in Economics 20255, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    16. 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.
    17. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2010. "Optimal bandwidth choice for the regression discontinuity estimator," CeMMAP working papers CWP05/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    18. Luttmer, Erzo F. P. & Singhal, Monica, 2008. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," Working Paper Series rwp08-038, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    19. Spenkuch, Jörg L., 2010. "The Protestant Ethic and Work: Micro Evidence from Contemporary Germany," MPRA Paper 26444, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. repec:oup:restud:v:79:y::i:3:p:933-959 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Huber, John D. & Stanig, Piero, 2011. "Church-state separation and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 828-836.
    22. Huber, John D. & Stanig, Piero, 2011. "Church-state separation and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 828-836, August.
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