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Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History

Sascha Becker, Ludger Woessmann and Sascha O. Becker
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Sascha O. Becker

No 1987, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo

Abstract: Max Weber attributed the higher economic prosperity of Protestant regions to a Protestant work ethic. We provide an alternative theory, where Protestant economies prospered because instruction in reading the Bible generated the human capital crucial to economic prosperity. County-level data from late 19thcentury Prussia reveal that Protestantism was indeed associated not only with higher economic prosperity, but also with better education. We find that Protestants’ higher literacy can account for the whole gap in economic prosperity. Results hold when we exploit the initial concentric dispersion of the Reformation to use distance to Wittenberg as an instrument for Protestantism.

Keywords: human capital; protestantism; economic history (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 N33 Z12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2007
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (32)

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Related works:
Journal Article: Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History (2009)
Working Paper: Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History (2007) Downloads
Working Paper: Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History (2007) Downloads
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