IZA Discussion Papers
Опубликовано на портале: 24-12-2007Maristella Botticini, Zvi Eckstein IZA Discussion Papers. 2002. No. 670.
Since the Middle Ages the Jews have been engaged primarily in urban, skilled occupations, such as crafts, trade, finance, and medicine. This distinctive occupational selection occurred between the seventh and the ninth centuries in the Muslim Empire and then it spread to other locations. We argue that this transition was the outcome of the widespread literacy among Jews prompted by an educational reform in the first century CE. Based on the growing nexus between education and Judaism in the first half of the millennium, we build a model in which Jewish men choose education, occupation, religion, and location. The model predicts that when urbanization expands (as it did in the Muslim Empire), Jews move to new cities due to their comparative advantage in urban, skilled occupations. Furthermore, before urbanization a proportion of Jewish farmers are predicted to convert to other religions. The predictions of the model regarding conversions, migrations, and reduction in the size of the Jewish population are consistent with the historical evidence about the first millennium provided by the historians. Hence, our study presents evidence for the long-term economic implications of changes in social norms.
In-Group Cooperation in a Hostile Environment: An Economic Perspective on Some Aspects of Jewish Life in (Pre-Modern) Diaspora [статья]
Опубликовано на портале: 03-12-2007Hillel Rapoport, Avi Weiss IZA Discussion Papers. 2002. No. 483.
The demographic history of the Jews in the Middle Ages may be characterized by two main phenomena: i) a sharp drop in the number of Jews until the beginning of the modern period, due mainly to conversions; and, ii) early urbanization. Until now, these features have been analyzed as primarily resulting from persecution and restrictions initiated by the political and religious authorities in the host countries. Economic historians have recently proposed an explanation based on mandatory education in the Jewish tradition (Botticini and Eckstein, 2001). We propose a supplementary explanation based on the incentives to switch affiliation and/or location in a dual environment, where potential gains from in-group cooperation for the Jewish minority may well be offset by losses due to intergroup hostility. Our model generates the two results described above (i.e., a decrease in the total number of Jews, and their concentration in urban areas), without having to rely either on discrimination policies or on investment in human capital, as in previous research.
Опубликовано на портале: 24-12-2007Maristella Botticini, Zvi Eckstein IZA Discussion Papers. 2004. No. 1224.
This paper documents the major features of Jewish economic history in the first millennium to explain the distinctive occupational selection of the Jewish people into urban, skilled occupations. We show that many Jews entered urban occupations in the eighth-ninth centuries in the Muslim Empire when there were no restrictions on their economic activities, most of them were farmers, and they were a minority in all locations. Therefore, arguments based on restrictions or minority status cannot explain the occupational transition of the Jews at that time. Our thesis is that the occupational selection of the Jews was the outcome of the widespread literacy prompted by a religious and educational reform in the first century ce, which was implemented in the third to the eighth century. We present detailed information on the implementation of this religious and educational reform in Judaism based on the Talmud, archeological evidence on synagogues, the Cairo Geniza documents, and the Responsa literature. We also provide evidence of the economic returns to Jewish religious literacy.