Knocking on Heaven’s Door? Protestantism and Suicide

We model the effect of Protestant vs. Catholic denomination in an economic theory of suicide, accounting for differences in religious-community integration, views about man’s impact on God’s grace, and the possibility of confessing sins. We test the theory using a unique micro-regional dataset of 452 counties in 19th - century Prussia, when religiousness was still pervasive. Our instrumental-variable model exploits the concentric dispersion of Protestantism around Wittenberg to circumvent selectivity bias. Protestantism had a substantial positive effect on suicide in 1816-21 and 1869-71. We address issues of bias from mental illness, misreporting, weather conditions, within-county heterogeneity, religious concentration, and gender composition.


Issue Date:
Jun 10 2011
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
Record Identifier:
http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/270758
Language:
English
Total Pages:
46
JEL Codes:
Z12; N33
Series Statement:
WERP 966




 Record created 2018-04-05, last modified 2018-04-05

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