Luther and the girls: religious denomination and the female education gap in nineteenth-century Prussia

Sascha O. Becker, Ludger Woessmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Martin Luther urged each town to have a girls' school so that girls would learn to read the Gospel, thereby evoking a surge of building girls' schools in Protestant areas. Using county- and town-level data from the first Prussian census of 1816, we show that a larger share of Protestants decreased the gender gap in basic education. This result holds when using only the exogenous variation in Protestantism due to a county's or town's distance to Wittenberg, the birthplace of the Reformation. Similar results are found for the gender gap in literacy among the adult population in 1871.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-805
Number of pages29
JournalScandinavian Journal of Economics
Volume110
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Education
  • Gender gap
  • Protestantism

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