Devotion and development: religiosity, education, and economic progress in nineteenth-century FranceTHE AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW, 2020
This paper studies when religion can hamper diffusion of knowledge and economic development, and through which mechanism. I examine Catholicism in France during the Second Industrial Revolution (1870-1914). In this period, technology became skill-intensive, leading to the introduction of technical education in primary schools. I find that more religious locations had lower economic development after 1870. Schooling appears to be the key mechanism: more religious areas saw a slower adoption of the technical curriculum and a push for religious education. In turn, religious education was negatively associated with industrial development 10 to 15 years later, when schoolchildren entered the labor market.