Becker, Sascha O. Nagler, Markus Woessmann, Ludger
Year of Publication:
Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2014: Evidenzbasierte Wirtschaftspolitik - Session: Religion and Secularization F11-V1
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.