Reformation and Reallocation: Religious and Secular Economic Activity in Early Modern Germany

49 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2016

See all articles by Davide Cantoni

Davide Cantoni

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Economics

Jeremiah Dittmar

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics

Noam Yuchtman

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business

Date Written: November 2016

Abstract

The Protestant Reformation, beginning in 1517, was a first-order economic shock. We document its effects on the sectoral allocation of economic activity in Germany using highly disaggregated data. During the Reformation, particularly in Protestant regions, large numbers of monasteries were expropriated. University graduates shifted toward secular, rather than religious, occupations. Forward-looking university students shifted away from the study of religious sector-specific theology, toward secular fields. Construction activity in the religious sector declined, particularly in Protestant regions, while secular construction increased. These findings highlight the unintended consequences of the Reformation --- a religious movement that contributed to Europe's secularization.

Keywords: Human Capital, Protestant Reformation, Sectoral Allocation

JEL Classification: E02, J24, N13, N33

Suggested Citation

Cantoni, Davide and Dittmar, Jeremiah and Yuchtman, Noam, Reformation and Reallocation: Religious and Secular Economic Activity in Early Modern Germany (November 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2877260

Davide Cantoni (Contact Author)

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Ludwigstrasse 28
Munich, D-80539
Germany

Jeremiah Dittmar

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics ( email )

Noam Yuchtman

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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