Occupational Choice and the Spirit of Capitalism

  title={Occupational Choice and the Spirit of Capitalism},
  author={Matthias Doepke and Fabrizio Zilibotti},
  journal={NBER Working Paper Series},
The British Industrial Revolution triggered a reversal in the social order whereby the landed elite was replaced by industrial capitalists rising from the middle classes as the economically dominant group. Many observers have linked this transformation to the contrast in values between a hard-working and thrifty middle class and an upper class imbued with disdain for work. We propose an economic theory of preference formation in which both the divergence of attitudes across social classes and… 
Weber, Marx, and Work Values: Evidence from Transition Economies
Capital-Skill Complementarity and the Emergence of Labor Emancipation
This paper advances a novel hypothesis regarding the historical roots of labor emancipation. It argues that the decline of coercive labor institutions in the industrial phase of development has been
Love and Money with Inheritance: Marital Sorting by Labor Income and Inherited Wealth in the Modern Partnership
As the importance of capital is resurging in rich countries, the dynamics of wealth inequality are being increasingly affected by inheritance distribution. The relative attraction derived from
WORKING PAPER SERIES Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy
We hypothesize that cultural appreciation of hard work and thrift, the Protestant ethic according to Max Weber, had a pre-Reformation origin. The proximate source of these values was, according to
Agricultural Returns to Labour and the Origins of Work Ethics
We examine the historical determinants of differences in preferences for work across societies today. Our hypothesis is that a society’s work ethic depends on the role that labor has played in it
Obedience in the Labor Market and Social Mobility: A Socio-Economic Approach
This paper presents an analysis of what types of values, especially in regards to obedience vs. independence, families impart to their children and how these values interact with social mobility. In


Patience Capital and the Demise of the Aristocracy
We model the decision problem of a parent who chooses an occupation and invests in the patience of her children. The two choices complement each other: patient individuals choose occupations with a
Occupational Choice and the Process of Development
This paper models economic development as a process of institutional transformation by focusing on the interplay between agents' occupational decisions and the distribution of wealth. Because of
Religion in macroeconomics: a quantitative analysis of Weber’s thesis
Max Weber in 1905 claimed that Protestantism, and more specifically Calvinism, facilitated the rise of capitalism. This paper assesses the quantitative plausibility of his hypothesis by introducing
From Farmers to Merchants, Voluntary Conversions and Diaspora: A Human Capital Interpretation of Jewish History
From the end of the second century C.E., Judaism enforced a religious norm requiring Jewish fathers to educate their sons. We present evidence supporting our thesis that this change in the religious
The Theory of the Leisure Class
'Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure.' In The Theory of the Leisure Class Thorstein Veblen sets out 'to discuss the place and value of the
From the end of the second century CE, Judaism enforced a religious norm requiring fathers to educate their sons. We present evidence supporting our thesis that this change had a major influence on
The Law of Primogeniture and the Transition from Landed Aristocracy to Industrial Democracy
We study the connection between inheritance systems and the historical evolution of the relationship between a society’s economic structure and its political system, with a focus on Europe from
Malthus to Solow
"A unified growth theory is developed that accounts for the roughly constant living standards displayed by world economies prior to 1800 as well as the growing living standards exhibited by modern
Investment and empire in the later eighteenth century: East India stockholding, 1756‐1791
In recent years important advances have been made in our understanding of the relationship between Britain's overseas empire and the metropolitan or domestic economy. In an important article Cain and