Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/51671
Authors: 
Becker, Sascha O.
Woessmann, Ludger
Year of Publication: 
2011
Series/Report no.: 
Discussion paper series // Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit 5773
Abstract: 
We model the effect of Protestant vs. Catholic denomination in an economic theory of suicide, accounting for differences in religious-community integration, views about man's impact on God's grace, and the possibility of confessing sins. We test the theory using a unique micro-regional dataset of 452 counties in 19th-century Prussia, when religiousness was still pervasive. Our instrumental-variable model exploits the concentric dispersion of Protestantism around Wittenberg to circumvent selectivity bias. Protestantism had a substantial positive effect on suicide in 1816-21 and 1869-71. We address issues of bias from mental illness, misreporting, weather conditions, within-county heterogeneity, religious concentration, and gender composition.
Subjects: 
religion
suicide
Prussian economic history
JEL: 
Z12
N33
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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