Pre‐Reformation Roots of the Protestant Ethic

38 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2017

See all articles by Thomas Barnebeck Andersen

Thomas Barnebeck Andersen

University of Southern Denmark

Jeanet Sinding Bentzen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics

Carl‐Johan Dalgaard

University of Copenhagen

Paul Richard Sharp

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics

Date Written: September 2017

Abstract

We hypothesise that cultural appreciation of hard work and thrift, the Protestant ethic according to Max Weber, had a pre‐Reformation origin: the Catholic Order of Cistercians. In support, we document an impact from the Order on growth within the epicentre of the Industrial Revolution; English counties that were more exposed to Cistercian monasteries experienced faster productivity growth from the 13th century onwards. Consistent with a cultural influence, this impact is also found after the monasteries were dissolved in the 1530s. Moreover, the values emphasised by Weber are relatively more pervasive in European regions where Cistercian monasteries were located historically.

Suggested Citation

Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck and Bentzen, Jeanet and Dalgaard, Carl‐Johan and Sharp, Paul Richard, Pre‐Reformation Roots of the Protestant Ethic (September 2017). The Economic Journal, Vol. 127, Issue 604, pp. 1756-1793, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3031012 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12367

Thomas Barnebeck Andersen (Contact Author)

University of Southern Denmark

Jeanet Bentzen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark

Carl‐Johan Dalgaard

University of Copenhagen

Paul Richard Sharp

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

DK-5230 Odense
Denmark

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