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Jewish communities and city growth in preindustrial Europe

Noel D. Johnson and Mark Koyama ()

Journal of Development Economics, 2017, vol. 127, issue C, 339-354

Abstract: We study whether cities with Jewish communities grew faster than cities without Jewish communities in Europe between 1400 and 1850. We match data on city populations from Bairoch (1988) with data on the presence of a Jewish community from Roth and Wigoder (2007). Our difference-in-differences results indicate that cities with Jewish communities grew about 30% faster than comparable cities without Jewish communities. To establish causality, we create time-varying instrumental variables which rely only on the spatially extended network of Jewish communities in order to predict Jewish presence in a given city. We provide evidence that the advantage of cities with Jewish communities stemmed in part from Jewish emancipation and their ability to exploit increases in market access after 1600.

Keywords: Long-run growth; Urbanization; Market access; Jewish communities; Toleration; Religion; Little divergence (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:339-354