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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1867042
 
 

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Knocking on Heaven's Door? Protestantism and Suicide


Sascha O. Becker


University of Warwick; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Ludger Woessmann


Ifo Institute for Economic Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research


IZA Discussion Paper No. 5773

Abstract:     
We model the effect of Protestant vs. Catholic denomination in an economic theory of suicide, accounting for differences in religious-community integration, views about man's impact on God's grace, and the possibility of confessing sins. We test the theory using a unique micro-regional dataset of 452 counties in 19th-century Prussia, when religiousness was still pervasive. Our instrumental-variable model exploits the concentric dispersion of Protestantism around Wittenberg to circumvent selectivity bias. Protestantism had a substantial positive effect on suicide in 1816-21 and 1869-71. We address issues of bias from mental illness, misreporting, weather conditions, within-county heterogeneity, religious concentration, and gender composition.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 47

Keywords: religion, suicide, Prussian economic history

JEL Classification: Z12, N33

working papers series


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Date posted: June 20, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Becker, Sascha O. and Woessmann, Ludger, Knocking on Heaven's Door? Protestantism and Suicide. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5773. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1867042

Contact Information

Sascha O. Becker (Contact Author)
University of Warwick ( email )
Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)
Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany
HOME PAGE: http://sobecker.de
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
Ifo Institute for Economic Research
Munich
Germany
Ludger Woessmann
Ifo Institute for Economic Research ( email )
Poschingerstr. 5
Munich
Germany
++49 89 9224 1699 (Phone)
++49 89 9224 1460 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.cesifo.de/link/woessmann_l.htm
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany
University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research
Schackstr. 4
Munich, 80539
Germany
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