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Protestantism and Education: Reading (the Bible) and Other Skills

  • Boppart, Timo
  • Falkinger, Josef
  • Grossmann, Volker

During industrialization, Protestants were more literate than Catholics. This paper investigates whether this fact may be led back to the intrinsic motivation of Protestants to read the bible and whether other education motives were involved as well. We employ a historical data set from Switzerland which allows us to differentiate between different cognitive skills: reading, numeracy, essay writing and Swiss history. We develop an estimation strategy to examine whether the impact of religious denomination was particularly large with respect to reading capabilities. We find support for this hypothesis. However, Protestants' education motives went beyond acquiring reading skills.

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File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/48732/1/VfS_2011_pid_178.pdf
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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis with number 48732.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc11:48732
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.socialpolitik.org/
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  1. Becker, Sascha O. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2007. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," Discussion Papers in Economics 1366, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Becker, Sascha & Woessmann, Ludger, 2010. "The Effect of Protestantism on Education before the Industrialization: Evidence from 1816 Prussia," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2010-01, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  3. Boppart, Timo & Falkinger, Josef & Grossmann, Volker & Woitek, Ulrich & Wüthrich, Gabriela, 2013. "Under which conditions does religion affect educational outcomes?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 242-266.
  4. Becker, Sascha & Woessmann, Ludger, 2008. "Luther and the Girls: Religious Denomination and the Female Education Gap in 19th Century Prussia," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2008-20, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
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