Protestantism and Education: Reading (the Bible) and Other Skills

22 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2014

See all articles by Timo Boppart

Timo Boppart

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES); University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Josef Falkinger

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Volker Grossmann

University of Fribourg - Faculty of Economics and Social Science; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Date Written: April 2014

Abstract

During industrialization, Protestants were more literate than Catholics. This paper investigates whether this fact may be led back to the intrinsic motivation of Protestants to read the bible and to what extent other education motives might have been involved as well. We employ a historical data set from Switzerland which allows us to differentiate between different cognitive skills: reading, numeracy, essay writing, and Swiss history. We develop an estimation strategy to examine whether the impact of religious denomination was particularly large with respect to reading capabilities. We find support for this hypothesis. However, we also find evidence which is consistent with the view that Protestants' education motives went beyond acquiring reading skills.

JEL Classification: I20

Suggested Citation

Boppart, Timo and Falkinger, Josef and Grossmann, Volker, Protestantism and Education: Reading (the Bible) and Other Skills (April 2014). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 52, Issue 2, pp. 874-895, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2401404 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12058

Timo Boppart (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) ( email )

Stockholm, SE-10691
Sweden

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Z├╝rich, CH-8006
Switzerland

Josef Falkinger

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland

Volker Grossmann

University of Fribourg - Faculty of Economics and Social Science ( email )

Fribourg, CH 1700
Switzerland

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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