Witchcraft, Weather and Economic Growth in Renaissance Europe

  title={Witchcraft, Weather and Economic Growth in Renaissance Europe},
  author={Emily F. Oster},
  journal={European Economics eJournal},
  • E. Oster
  • Published 30 March 2004
  • History
  • European Economics eJournal
In the period between 1300 and 1800 as many as one million people were executed in Europe for the crime of witchcraft. Although a variety of theories about the witch-hunts have been put forward over time, little has been said about the possibility that the witch-hunts were motivated by a desire for vengeance in a time of misfortune. This paper connects the witch-hunts in Europe with deteriorating weather and slow economic growth during this period. The most intense period of witch-hunting… 

The Political and Economic Role of Elites in Persecution: Evidence from Witchcraft Trials in Early Modern Scotland

Persecution, as a political and economic phenomenon, can be abetted by the resources of a nation's elite. To demonstrate this, I focus on a case study: witchcraft trials in Early Modern Scotland

Witch Hunting, Cultural Revolution, and the Bright Side of Kinship

Many studies on witch killings in Africa suggest that “witchcraft is the dark side of kinship.” But in Chinese history, where kinship has been emphasized as the foundation of the society, there have

Witchcraft Beliefs and Witch Hunts

It is argued that human social dilemmas have led to the evolution of a fear system that was adapted in the evolutionary environment of small foraging bands but became overstimulated by the consequences of the Agricultural Revolution, leading to witch paranoia.

Witch trials: Discontent in early modern Europe

This paper examines the relationship between income and witch trials in early modern Europe. We start by using climate data to proxy for income levels. This builds on previous work by exploiting a

Economic Origins of Witch Hunting

Abstract A number of events taking place in the twenty-first century such as mass arrests of members of the Iran President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad's executive office accused of witchcraft make one doubt

A Statistical Analysis of Witchcraft Accusations in Colonial America

The idea of magic and witches was not foreign to the society of Colonial America. Many historical studies have examined the social, political, and economic aspects of witch hunts in Colonial America,

Sultans , the Shari a and Seven Empty Ears : Economic Catastrophes , Church and State

This paper uses over 700 years of Nile ‡ood data and a novel data set on the tenure of Egyptian political and religious leaders to investigate how economic shocks a¤ected the balance of power between

From the Persecuting to the Protective State? Jewish Expulsions and Weather Shocks from 1100 to 1800

What factors caused the persecution of minorities in medieval and early modern Europe? We build a model that predicts that minority communities were more likely to be expropriated in the wake of

Jewish Persecutions and Weather Shocks: 1100-1800

What factors caused the persecution of minorities in medieval and early modern Europe? We build a model that predicts that minority communities were more likely to be expropriated in the wake of

Segregation, Rent Control, and Riots: The Economics of Religious Conflict in an Indian City

Religious conflict is an important problem in many ethnically diverse countries (Horowitz 1985). A growing literature in economics suggests that conflict over resources is frequently at the root of



Climatic change and witch-hunting : The impact of the Little Ice Age on mentalities

The enormous tensions created in society as a result of the persecution of witches demonstrate how dangerous it is to discuss climatic change under the aspects of morality.

From lynching to gay bashing: the elusive connection between economic conditions and hate crime.

The authors speculate that the predictive force of macroeconomic fluctuation is undermined by the rapid rate of decay in the frustration-bred aggressive impulse and the absence of prominent political actors affixing economic blame on target groups.

Instruments of Darkness: Witchcraft in England, 1550-1750

Part 1 Witchcraft in Elizabethan and Ealy Stuart England: witchcraft and elite mentalities witchcraft in popular culture the theological and legal bases for witch-hunting. Part 2 Five themes patterns

Climate History and the Modern World

H. H. Lamb's latest book on the earth's changing climate is a carefully crafted work covering four areas: the physical basis of climate and climate change, the methods of climate reconstruction, the

Greed and Grievance in Civil War

We investigate the causes of civil war, using a new data set of wars during 1960-99. We test a `greed’ theory focusing on the ability to finance rebellion, against a`grievance’ theory focusing on

On the Incidence of Civil War in Africa

An econometric model of civil war is applied to the analysis of conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. Results show that Africa has had a similar incidence of civil conflict to other developing regions,

AIDS, Witchcraft, and the Problem of Power in Post-Apartheid South Africa

ion: Notes from the South African Postcolony.” American Ethnologist 26, no. 2: 279-303. Commission of Inquiry into Witchcraft Violence and Ritual Murders. 1996. Report of the Commission of Inquiry

Atlas of world population history

in England, and his book will become a classic of its kind. Moreover, he indicates that material for similar studies is available, and it is to be hoped that others will continue this area of

Princes and Merchants: European City Growth before the Industrial Revolution

As measured by the pace of city growth in western Europe from 1000 to 1800. absolutist monarchs stunted the growth of commerce and industry. A region ruled by an absolutist prince saw its total urban