Did Protestantism Promote Economic Prosperity via Higher Human Capital?

  title={Did Protestantism Promote Economic Prosperity via Higher Human Capital?},
  author={Jeremy S. S. Edwards},
  journal={Labor: Human Capital eJournal},
  • J. Edwards
  • Published 1 August 2017
  • Economics
  • Labor: Human Capital eJournal
This paper investigates the Becker-Woessmann (2009) argument that Protestants were more prosperous in nineteenth-century Prussia because they were more literate, a version of the Weber thesis, and shows that it cannot be sustained. The econometric analysis on which Becker and Woessman based their argument is fundamentally flawed, because their instrumental variable does not satisfy the exclusion restriction. When an appropriate instrumental-variable specification is used, the evidence from… 

Let the Data Speak? On the Importance of Theory-Based Instrumental Variable Estimations

Abstract In absence of randomized-controlled experiments, identification is often aimed via instrumental variable (IV) strategies, typically two-stage least squares estimations. According to Bayes’

The effect of being Protestant on entrepreneurial choice

This brief research note identifies a causal effect of being Protestant on entrepreneurial choice.



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

Max Weber attributed the higher economic prosperity of Protestantregions to a Protestant work ethic. We provide an alternative theory: Protestant economies prospered because instruction in reading

A replication of ‘Education and catch-up in the Industrial Revolution’ (American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 2011)

Abstract Although European economic history provides essentially no support for the view that education of the general population has a positive causal effect on economic growth, a recent paper by

Adopting a New Religion: The Case of Protestantism in 16th Century Germany

Using a rich dataset of territories and cities of the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century, this paper investigates the determinants of adoption and diffusion of Protestantism as a state religion. A

Education and Catch-up in the Industrial Revolution †

Research increasingly stresses the role of human capital in modern economic development. Existing historical evidence—mostly from British textile industries—however, rejects that formal education was

The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution

The French Revolution of 1789 had a momentous impact on neighboring countries. The French Revolutionary armies during the 1790s and later under Napoleon invaded and controlled large parts of Europe.

iPEHD—The ifo Prussian Economic History Database

Abstract This article describes the ifo Prussian Economic History Database (iPEHD), a public use county-level database covering a rich collection of variables for nineteenth-century Prussia. The

Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion

The core methods in today's econometric toolkit are linear regression for statistical control, instrumental variables methods for the analysis of natural experiments, and differences-in-differences

Ideas in action: the politics of Prussian child labor reform, 1817–1839

This article explains the political origins of an 1839 law regulating the factory employment of children in Prussia. The article has two aims. First, it seeks to explain why Prussia adopted the

Optimal Two‐Sided Invariant Similar Tests for Instrumental Variables Regression

This paper considers tests of the parameter on an endogenous variable in an instrumental variables regression model. The focus is on determining tests that have some optimal power properties. We


This chapter reviews econometric models for which statistical inference requires intensive numerical computations. A common feature of such models is that they incorporate unobserved (or latent)