Devotion and Development: Religiosity, Education, and Economic Progress in 19th-Century France
48 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2020
Date Written: June 1, 2020
This paper studies when religion can hamper diffusion of knowledge and economic development and through which mechanism. I examine Catholicism in France during the Second Industrial Revolution (1870-1914). In this period, technology became skill-intensive, leading to the introduction of technical education in primary schools. I find that more religious locations had lower economic development only after 1870. Schooling appears to be the key mechanism: more religious areas saw a slower adoption of the technical curriculum and a push for religious education. Religious education, in turn, was negatively associated with industrial development 10-15 years later, when schoolchildren entered the labor market.
Keywords: human capital, religiosity, industrialization
JEL Classification: J240, N130, Z120
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