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The Impact of the Reformation on the Economic Development of Western Europe

Roman Sheremeta () and Vernon Smith

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: The Protestant Reformation is a vivid example of how religious transformation could set in motion institutional changes, leading to profound consequences for economic and political development. Although economists and other social scientists agree that there is a strong relation between the Reformation and economic growth, there is an active discussion as to what are the causal pathways connecting Protestantism to long-run economic success. We discuss the causal pathways that received substantial empirical support in academic literature. Some of them, such as “work ethic” and entrepreneurial spirit of Protestants, were originally suggested by Max Weber, while others, such as religious freedom and education, are deeply grounded in economic theory. More recently, other causal pathways have been suggested, such as social ethic, civil society, and institutional changes. We bring our view of these pathways.

Keywords: Reformation; religion; economic development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A13 B15 E02 Z12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-gro, nep-his and nep-hpe
Date: 2017-05-07
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