Religion and Work: Micro Evidence from Contemporary Germany

42 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2010 Last revised: 21 Jan 2017

Date Written: December 1, 2016


Using micro data from contemporary Germany, this paper studies the connection between Protestantism and modern-day labor market outcomes. To address the endogeneity in self-declared religion, I exploit a provision in a sixteenth-century peace treaty, which determined the geographic distribution of Catholics and Protestants. Reduced form and instrumental variable estimates provide no evidence of an effect of Protestantism on hourly wages. However, relative to their Catholic counterparts, Protestants do appear to work longer hours. The patterns in the data are difficult to reconcile with explanations based on institutional factors or religious differences in human capital acquisition. Religious differences in individuals’ values, however, can account for most of the estimated effects.

Keywords: religion, economic effects of religion, Protestantism, impact of Protestantism, Reformation

JEL Classification: Z12, J0, N3

Suggested Citation

Spenkuch, Jörg L., Religion and Work: Micro Evidence from Contemporary Germany (December 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Jörg L. Spenkuch (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Department of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences (MEDS) ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics