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

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Boppart, Timo & Falkinger, Josef & Grossmann, Volker, 2011. "Protestantism and Education: Reading (the Bible) and Other Skills," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48732, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc11:48732
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    4. Sascha Becker & Ludger Wößmann, 2008. "Luther and the Girls: Religious Denomination and the Female Education Gap in 19th Century Prussia," CESifo Working Paper Series 2414, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Becker, Sascha O. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2010. "The effect of Protestantism on education before the industrialization: Evidence from 1816 Prussia," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 224-228, May.
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    8. Tiago Cavalcanti & Stephen Parente & Rui Zhao, 2007. "Religion in macroeconomics: a quantitative analysis of Weber’s thesis," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 32(1), pages 105-123, July.
    9. 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.
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    11. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-1177, September.
    12. Sander, William & Krautmann, Anthony C, 1995. "Catholic Schools, Dropout Rates and Educational Attainment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(2), pages 217-233, April.
    13. Edward P. Lazear, 2001. "Educational Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 777-803.
    14. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Blum, Matthias & Strebel, Matthias, 2016. "Max Weber and the First World War: Protestant and Catholic living standards in Germany, 1915–1919," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(03), pages 699-719, September.
    2. Becker, Sascha O. & Pfaff, Steven & Rubin, Jared, 2016. "Causes and consequences of the Protestant Reformation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1-25.
    3. Osikominu, Aderonke & Grossmann, Volker & Osterfeld, Marius, 2014. "Are Sociocultural Factors Important for Studying a Science University Major?," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100404, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Grossmann, Volker & Osikominu, Aderonke & Osterfeld, Marius, 2016. "Sociocultural Background and Choice of STEM Majors at University," CEPR Discussion Papers 11250, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Christoph Basten & Frank Betz, 2012. "Beyond Work Ethic," KOF Working papers 12-309, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cognitive skills; Education; Reading capability; Religious denomination; Protestant reformation;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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