A Tale of Minorities: Evidence on Religious Ethics and Entrepreneurship from Swiss Census Data

38 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2014

See all articles by L. Nunziata

L. Nunziata

University of Padua - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Lorenzo Rocco

University of Padua; University of Toulouse I

Abstract

Does Protestantism favour the market economy more than Catholicism does? We provide a novel quasi-experimental way to answer this question by comparing Protestant and Catholic minorities using Swiss census data from 1970 to 2000. Exploiting the strong adhesion of religious minorities to their confession's ethical principles and the historical determination of the geographical distribution of confessions across Swiss cantons, we find that Protestantism is associated with a significantly higher propensity for entrepreneurship. The estimated difference ranges between 2.3 and 4.4 percentage points. Our findings are robust to a number of robustness checks, including a placebo test.

Keywords: entrepreneurship, self-employment, religion, culture, Protestantism, Catholicism, Switzerland

JEL Classification: Z12, J24, J21, Z13

Suggested Citation

Nunziata, Luca and Rocco, Lorenzo, A Tale of Minorities: Evidence on Religious Ethics and Entrepreneurship from Swiss Census Data. IZA Discussion Paper No. 7976. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2403113

Luca Nunziata (Contact Author)

University of Padua - Department of Economics ( email )

via Del Santo 33
Padova, 35123
Italy

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Lorenzo Rocco

University of Padua ( email )

Via 8 Febbraio, 2
Padova, Vicenza 35122
Italy

University of Toulouse I

Place Anatole France
Toulouse Cedex, F-31042
France

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