DP16030 The Long Run Effects of Religious Persecution: Evidence from the Spanish Inquisition

Author(s): Mauricio Drelichman, Jordi Vidal-Robert, Hans-Joachim Voth
Publication Date: April 2021
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Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16030

Religious persecution is common in many countries around the globe. There is little evidence on its long-term effects. We collect new data from all across Spain, using information from over 67,000 trials held by the Spanish Inquisition between 1480 and 1820. This comprehensive new database allows us to demonstrate that municipalities of Spain with a history of stronger inquisitorial presence show lower economic performance, educational attainment, and trust today. The effects persist after controlling for historical indicators of religiosity and wealth, ruling out potential selection bias.