Anti-Semitism continues to be a widespread societal problem, rooted deeply in history. Using novel city-level and county-level data from Germany, Becker studies the role of economic incentives in shaping the co-existence of Jews, Catholics and Protestants. The ban on usury practiced by Catholics gave Jews a specific advantage in the money-lending sector. Following the Protestant Reformation in 1517, German regions split between Catholics and Protestants. Protestant views on usury were less restrictive. Hence, while in Catholic areas, complementarities between Catholics and Jews persisted, in Protestant areas Jews lost their prerogative in the money-lending sector. Becker documents the change in the economic geography of Jewish activities, and in the geography of Anti-Semitism.

connect with us


© UC Irvine School of Social Sciences - 3151 Social Sciences Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697-5100 - 949.824.2766