DP13877 Devotion and Development: Religiosity, Education, and Economic Progress in 19th-Century France

Author(s): Mara Squicciarini
Publication Date: July 2019
Date Revised: June 2020
Keyword(s): Human Capital, Industrialization, Religiosity
JEL(s): J24, N13, Z12
Programme Areas: Economic History, Macroeconomics and Growth
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13877

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 (1870â??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 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. In turn, religious education was negatively associated with industrial development 10 to 15 years later, when schoolchildren entered the labor market.