Still Influential: The Protestant Emphasis on Schooling

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From its beginning 500 years ago, Protestantism has been advocating and actively pursuing the expansion of schooling, including the schooling of girls. In many countries, it has thus helped to create a cultural heritage that puts a high value on education and schooling. This paper provides evidence that Protestantism’s historical legacy has an enduring effect. Using data on 147 countries, it finds that countries with larger Protestant population shares in 1900 had higher secondary school enrollment rates over 1975-2010, including among girls. The magnitude of the effect is small though. Using Protestant population shares over 1975-2010, the paper also shows that Protestantism’s influence on schooling has diminished and that contemporary Protestantism, in contrast to historical Protestantism, does not affect schooling. The regression analysis accounts for numerous other determinants of schooling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-678
Number of pages38
JournalComparative Sociology
Issue number5
Early online date30 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2018


  • Education
  • Protestantism
  • Religion
  • Schooling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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