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Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Education Promoted Secularization

Author(s): Sascha O. Becker, Markus Nagler and Ludger Woessmann

Publication Date: March 2014

Keyword(s): Education, Germany, History and Secularization

Programme Area(s): Economic History and Labour Economics

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.

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Bibliographic Reference

Becker, S, Nagler, M and Woessmann, L. 2014. 'Education Promoted Secularization'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research. https://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9884