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Media, markets and institutional change: evidence fromthe Protestant Reformation

Dittmar, Jeremiah and Seabold, Skipper (2015) Media, markets and institutional change: evidence fromthe Protestant Reformation. CEP Discussion Papers (CEPDP1367). Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

This research studies the role of competition in the diffusion of radical ideas and institutional change during the Protestant Reformation. We construct a new measure of religious content in the media using data on all known books and pamphlets printed in German-speaking Europe 1454-1600. We find that Protestant content was produced in greater quantity in local media markets with more competing firms when Martin Luther circulated his initial arguments for reform in 1517. We find that competition mattered differentially more for the diffusion of Protestant ideas and for institutional change where city governments had the least legal autonomy from feudal lords. We document the relationship between competition and diffusion directly and using the deaths of printers to isolate plausibly exogenous variation in competition. We show that cities where initial competition was greater, and which were more exposed to Protestant ideas, were more likely to adopt the legal institutions of the Reformation.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?...
Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D0 - General > D02 - Institutions: Design, Formation, and Operations
L - Industrial Organization > L8 - Industry Studies: Services > L82 - Entertainment; Media (Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Broadcasting, Publishing, etc.)
N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N33 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: Europe: Pre-1913
N - Economic History > N9 - Regional and Urban History > N94 - Europe: 1913-
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development
P - Economic Systems > P4 - Other Economic Systems > P48 - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights
Z - Other Special Topics > Z1 - Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology > Z12 - Religion
Sets: Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2015 09:32
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2019 08:32
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Deutsche Bank Membership, Centre for Economic Performance, European Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/63814

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