The Impact of the Reformation on the Economic Development of Western Europe

21 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2018

See all articles by Roman M. Sheremeta

Roman M. Sheremeta

Case Western Reserve University

Vernon L. Smith

Chapman University - Economic Science Institute; Chapman University School of Law

Date Written: May 27, 2017

Abstract

The Protestant Reformation is a vivid example of how religious transformation could set in motion institutional changes, leading to profound consequences for economic and political development. Although economists and other social scientists agree that there is a strong relation between the Reformation and economic growth, there is an active discussion as to what are the causal pathways connecting Protestantism to long-run economic success. We discuss the causal pathways that received substantial empirical support in academic literature. Some of them, such as “work ethic” and entrepreneurial spirit of Protestants, were originally suggested by Max Weber, while others, such as religious freedom and education, are deeply grounded in economic theory. More recently, other causal pathways have been suggested, such as social ethic, civil society, and institutional changes. We bring our view of these pathways.

Keywords: Reformation, Religion, Economic Development

JEL Classification: A13, B15, E02, Z12

Suggested Citation

Sheremeta, Roman M. and Smith, Vernon L., The Impact of the Reformation on the Economic Development of Western Europe (May 27, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3192660 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3192660

Roman M. Sheremeta (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University ( email )

10900 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106
United States

Vernon L. Smith

Chapman University - Economic Science Institute ( email )

One University Dr.
Orange, CA 92866
United States
714-628-2830 (Phone)

Chapman University School of Law ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
United States

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