以前(2009/12/3エントリ)マックス・ウェーバーの仮説を否定する実証研究を紹介したことがあったが、今度はそれを支持する実証研究が現われたMostly Economics経由)。書いたのは欧州大学院のChristoph Basten*1と欧州中銀のFrank Betz。


Does culture, and in particular religion, exert an independent causal effect on politics and the economy, or is it merely a reflection of the latter? This question is the subject of a long-standing debate in the social sciences, with Karl Marx and Max Weber among its most famous proponents. The former famously opined that while the economy did influence culture, the reverse was not true. The latter, on the other hand, rejected that view and insisted that causality runs both ways. In particular, in "The Protestant ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism", Weber claimed that Reformed Protestantism, by nurturing stronger preferences for hard work and thriftiness had led to greater economic prosperity.
Our paper provides new evidence on this fundamental question, exploiting a quasi-experiment in Switzerland. Switzerland is well suited to study how religion affects politics and the economy as it is one of the few countries exhibiting genuine within-country variation in religion. Early in the 16th century, some cantons adopted the Reformation whereas others did not, which leaves us with both a treatment and a control group. But Switzerland is also a geographically and institutionally diverse country and the decision to adopt the Reformation was indeed correlated with geography and institutions. Most of the urban Confederates adopted the Reformation whereas the rural and mountainous center remained Catholic. To address this issue we focus on an institutionally and geographically homogeneous subset of the Confederation: the area in western Switzerland that is comprised of the present day cantons of Vaud and Fribourg.
文化、とりわけ宗教は、政治経済に独自の影響を与えるのだろうか、それとも単に政治経済を反映するに過ぎないのだろうか? この問題は社会科学において長く続いてきた論争のテーマであり、その中でもカール・マルクスマックス・ウェーバーが最も有名な論者である。マルクスは経済が文化に影響を与える半面、その逆は無い、と論じたことで有名である。ウェーバーはその説を否定し、因果関係は双方向である、と主張した。特に「プロテスタンティズムの倫理と資本主義の精神」で彼は、改革派プロテスタンティズムが勤勉と倹約を尊ぶ精神を涵養することにより大いなる経済発展をもたらした、と論じた。


We have shown that in a 100% Reformed Protestant municipality, support for more leisure is predicted to be about 13 percentage points or more than 1.5 standard deviations lower than in a 100% Roman Catholic municipality. This lends empirical support to Max Weber’s famous hypothesis of a ”Protestant work ethic”, thus deviating from earlier work in this literature such as Becker and Woessmann (2009) or Cantoni (2009). A plausible explanation for these differences is that the latter two papers looked at Lutheran Protestantism, whereas we focus on Reformed Protestantism. Though income in the Protestant region of our sample is on average higher, there is no discontinuity corresponding to those in voting behavior. It appears likely that federal working time regulation and general equilibrium effects constrain income differentials in a region as economically integrated as our sample.
Looking beyond the “work ethic” literature, we have argued that the works of Max Weber as well as the more recent literature in sociology can be seen to imply also predictions whereby Reformed Protestantism nurtures preferences for smaller government, and our empirical results confirm such predictions. Correspondingly, we also find Protestantism to lead to greater income inequality.
On a more general level, our results imply that religion is not just, as Karl Marx would have us believe, “People’s Opium”, but can, by its own force, significantly change people’s preferences, both self-regarding and social ones. To what extent such different preferences do then also translate into different economic outcomes will certainly depend on the framework of political institutions: Our results in this respect are at best a lower bound on the importance of different preferences for economic outcomes in general, seeing that our treatment and control groups are and for a long time have been based in the same country, and that furthermore we have examined merely two confessions of the same, Christian religion, as opposed to two religions further away from each other. It is all the more noteworthy that even in this set-up we have still found significant effects on preferences and, indeed, on income inequality.
改革派プロテスタントが100%である自治体では、ローマカトリックが100%である自治体に比べ、余暇の増大への支持が約13%ポイントないし1.5標準偏差以上低いことを我々は示した。このことは、マックス・ウェーバーの「プロテスタントの職業倫理」という有名な仮説を実証的に支持するものであり、Becker and Woessmann(2009)やCantoni(2009)といった先行研究とは相反する結果となっている*2。それら2つの研究ではルター派プロテスタンティズムを対象にしたのに対し、我々は改革派プロテスタンティズムに焦点を当てたことが、この違いを説明する理由になるかと思われる。我々の研究対象地域においては、プロテスタントの地域は平均的に所得が高いが、[今回の研究で職業倫理を測るのに用いた]投票行動にはそうした所得の差に対応するような不連続性は見られなかった。我々の研究対象地域のように経済的に統合された地域では、連邦の労働時間規制と一般均衡効果が所得格差を限定するものと考えられる。