Religion, Division of Labor, and Conflict: Anti-semitism in Germany over 600 Years
AbstractWe study the role of economic incentives in shaping the coexistence of Jews, Catholics, and Protestants, using novel data from Germany for 1,000+ cities. The Catholic usury ban and higher literacy rates gave Jews a specific advantage in the moneylending sector. Following the Protestant Reformation (1517), the Jews lost these advantages in regions that became Protestant. We show (i) a change in the geography of anti-Semitism with persecutions of Jews and anti-Jewish publications becoming more common in Protestant areas relative to Catholic areas; (ii) a more pronounced change in cities where Jews had already established themselves as moneylenders. These findings are consistent with the interpretation that, following the Protestant Reformation, Jews living in Protestant regions were exposed to competition with the Christian majority, especially in moneylending, leading to an increase in anti-Semitism.
CitationBecker, Sascha O., and Luigi Pascali. 2019. "Religion, Division of Labor, and Conflict: Anti-semitism in Germany over 600 Years." American Economic Review, 109 (5): 1764-1804. DOI: 10.1257/aer.20170279
- D74 Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
- J15 Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
- N33 Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Europe: Pre-1913
- N43 Economic History: Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation: Europe: Pre-1913
- N93 Regional and Urban History: Europe: Pre-1913