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CESifo Working Paper Details

Not the Opium of the People: Income and Secularization in a Panel of Prussian Counties

Sascha O. Becker (Website), Ludger Woessmann (Website)

CESifo Working Paper No. 4115 (February 2013)

Primary CESifo Category: [4] Labour Markets

Abstract:
The interplay between religion and the economy has occupied social scientists for long. We construct a unique panel of income and Protestant church attendance for six waves of up to 175 Prussian counties spanning 1886-1911. The data reveal a marked decline in church attendance coinciding with increasing income. The cross-section also shows a negative association between income and church attendance. But the association disappears in panel analyses, including first-differenced models of the 1886-1911 change, panel models with county and time fixed effects, and panel Granger-causality tests. The results cast doubt on causal interpretations of the religion-economy nexus in Prussian secularization.


Keywords: religion, secularization, Prussian economic history

JEL Classification:
[N330] Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Europe: Pre-1913
[Z120] Cultural Economics: Religion

Additional CESifo Category:
[5] Economics of Education

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