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Religious Orders and Growth through Cultural Change in Pre-Industrial England

  • Thomas Barnebeck Andersen

    (Department of Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark)

  • Jeanet Bentzen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Carl-Johan Dalgaard

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Paul Sharp

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

We advance the hypothesis that cultural values such as high work ethic and thrift, “the Protestant ethic” according to Max Weber, may have been diffused long before the Reformation, thereby importantly affecting the pre-industrial growth record. The source of pre-Reformation Protestant ethic, according to the proposed theory, was the Catholic Order of Cistercians. Using county-level data for England we find empirically that the frequency of Cistercian monasteries influenced county-level comparative development until 1801; that is, long after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The pre-industrial development of England may thus have been propelled by a process of growth through cultural change.

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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 11-07.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1107
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