Effect of Printing Press on Protestantism: Essay


Chapter 6 of Rubin’s book, Rulers, Religion and Riches, argues that the printing press enabled the Protestant Reformation to survive and flourish. Becker & Woessman’s article entitled “Was Weber Right? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History,” (QJE, 2008) argues that demand for printed material (mostly the Bible) rose significantly in Protestant regions, which […]

Effect of Printing Press on Protestantism

Rubin’s book, Rulers, Religion, and Riches, and Becker and Woessman’s article, “Was Weber Right?” examines the relationship between literacy and Protestantism. However, the studies hold mutually exclusive viewpoints. Rubin identifies the printing press as a causal agent of Protestantism’s growth and expansion, while Becker and Woessmann postulate that Protestantism was not a determinant factor in propagating literacy; rather, it was the demand for printing materials that rose in Protestantism regions, fostering knowledge.

In determining the validity of the results, both studies necessitate using concentric dispersion data to check the correlation between Protestantism population distribution and the distance from the printing press. However, Rubin’s hypothesis needs to analyze the regression correlation using SPSS, while Becker and Woessmann’s findings necessitate testing the effect of omission of literacy as a regressor on the instrument variable, thus mitigating bias while testing the validity of their hypothesis. Rubin uses prohibit and instrumental variables regression in his study to find the correlation between the demand for the printing press and Protestantism influence. On the other hand, Becker and Woessmann utilize the instrumental variable specifications to find the relationship between the demand for printing material and high literacy levels in Protestantism areas. The contrasting nature of the studies’ findings poses a challenge to future research in examining the flaw leading to different results while conducting more research on the influence of Protestantism on literacy in Europe.

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Published On: 01-01-1970

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