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The Economic Effects of the Protestant Reformation: Testing the Weber Hypothesis in the German Lands

Listed author(s):
  • Cantoni, Davide

Following Max Weber, many theories have hypothesized that Protestantism should have favored economic development. With its religious heterogeneity, the Holy Roman Empire presents an ideal testing ground for this hypothesis. Using population figures of 272 cities in the years 1300–1900, I find no effects of Protestantism on economic growth. The finding is precisely estimated, robust to the inclusion of various controls, and does not depend on data selection or small sample size. Protestantism has no effect when interacted with other likely determinants of economic development. Instrumental variables estimates, considering the potential endogeneity of religious choice, are similar to the OLS results.

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File URL: https://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/14811/1/Cantoni_2013_The_Economic_Effects_of_the_Protestant_Reformation.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 14811.

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Date of creation: Mar 2013
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:14811
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  1. Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2004. "Jewish Occupational Selection: Education, Restrictions, or Minorities?," IZA Discussion Papers 1224, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. BLUM, Ulrich & DUDLEY, Leonard, 2001. "Religion and Economic Growth: Was Weber Right?," Cahiers de recherche 2001-05, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  3. Leonard Dudley & Ulrich Blum, 2001. "Religion and economic growth: was Weber right?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 207-230.
  4. 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.
  5. Acemoglu, Daron & Cantoni, Davide & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A, 2009. "The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution," CEPR Discussion Papers 7245, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Robert B. Ekelund, Jr. & Robert F. Hebert & Robert D. Tollison, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of the Protestant Reformation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 646-671, June.
  7. Jared Rubin, 2014. "Printing and Protestants: An Empirical Test of the Role of Printing in the Reformation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(2), pages 270-286, May.
  8. Oded_Galor, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth:Unified Growth Theory," Working Papers 2004-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  9. Murat Iyigun, 2008. "Luther and Suleyman," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1465-1494.
  10. Sascha O. Becker & Erik Hornung & Ludger Woessmann, 2011. "Education and Catch-Up in the Industrial Revolution," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 92-126, July.
  11. Spenkuch, Jörg L., 2010. "The Protestant Ethic and Work: Micro Evidence from Contemporary Germany," MPRA Paper 26444, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Grier, Robin, 1997. "The Effect of Religion on Economic Development: A Cross National Study of Sixty-three Former Colonies," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 47-62.
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