Education Promoted Secularization

27 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2014

See all articles by Sascha O. Becker

Sascha O. Becker

Monash University - Department of Economics; University of Warwick

Markus Nagler

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg

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

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Abstract

Why did substantial parts of Europe abandon the institutionalized churches around 1900? Empirical studies using modern data mostly contradict the traditional view that education was a leading source of the seismic social phenomenon of secularization. We construct a unique panel dataset of advanced-school enrollment and Protestant church attendance in German cities between 1890 and 1930. Our cross-sectional estimates replicate a positive association. By contrast, in panel models where fixed effects account for time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity, education – but not income or urbanization – is negatively related to church attendance. In panel models with lagged explanatory variables, educational expansion precedes reduced church attendance.

Keywords: secularization, education, history, Germany

JEL Classification: Z12, N33, I20

Suggested Citation

Becker, Sascha O. and Nagler, Markus and Woessmann, Ludger, Education Promoted Secularization. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2409538

Sascha O. Becker (Contact Author)

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Wellington Road
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Australia

University of Warwick ( email )

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Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Markus Nagler

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg ( email )

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Erlangen, DE Bavaria 91054
Germany

Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.cesifo.de/link/woessmann_l.htm

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

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University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

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Germany

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