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Not the opium of the people: Income and secularization in a panel of prussian counties

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  • Becker, Sascha O.
  • Wößmann, Ludger

Abstract

The interplay between religion and the economy has long occupied social scientists. We construct a unique panel of income and Protestant church attendance using 175 Prussian counties, presented in six waves from 1886 to 1911. The data reveal a marked decline in church attendance coinciding with increasing income. The cross-section also shows a negative association between income and church attendance. The associations disappear in panel analyses, including first-differenced models of the 1886 to 1911 change, panel models with county and time fixed effects, and panel Granger-causality tests. The results cast doubt on causal interpretations of the religion-economy nexus in Prussian secularization.
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Suggested Citation

  • Becker, Sascha O. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2013. "Not the opium of the people: Income and secularization in a panel of prussian counties," Munich Reprints in Economics 20249, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20249
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    as
    1. Jonathan Gruber & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2006. "The Church vs the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition?," NBER Working Papers 12410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 531-596.
    3. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Erik Hornung & Ludger Woessmann, 2014. "iPEHD--The ifo Prussian Economic History Database," Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 57-66, June.
    4. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
    5. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
    6. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
    7. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "People's opium? Religion and economic attitudes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 225-282, January.
    8. Jonathan Gruber & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2008. "The Church Versus the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 123(2), pages 831-862.
    9. Lipford, Jody W. & Tollison, Robert D., 2003. "Religious participation and income," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 249-260, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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