The Chosen Few
Ninth CSEF-IGIER
Symposium on
Economics and
Institutions (CISEI)
26/06/2013 Capri
1
Ch. 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 8
Ch. 9
70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and
How Did They Live?
Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?
The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200
The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a
World of Farmers
Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few
From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150
Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250
Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders,
1000–1500
The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and
Urban Economies Collapse
Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions
2
We document three puzzles
• Jewish population dynamics
60-600
decreased
1250-1500 decreased
5.5 to 1.5 M
1.2 to 0.8-1.0 M
• Occupational selection (750-900, Muslim Middle East)
Jews left farming and entered urban, skilled occupations
• Jewish Diaspora and minority status (800-1200)
The migrations of Jewish *skills*
3
Jewish population dynamics
65
100
150
300
550
650
Land of Israel
2.5
1.8
1.2
0.5
0.2
0.1
Mesopotamia
1
1
1-1.2
1-1.2
0.8-1
0.7-0.9
Egypt
1
0.8-1
0.5
__
__
0.004
Syria
0.2-0.4
many
some
few
few
0.005
Asia Minor
0.2-0.4
many
some
few
few
0.040
Eastern Europe
__
__
__
__
__
__
Western Europe
0.1-0.2
some
some
few
few
0.001
Total Jewish Pop
5-5.5
4.3-4.5
3.1-3.3
1.9-2.1
1.2-1.5
1-1.2
Total Population
54.9
57
58
56.4
47.9
51.1
J pop / total pop
9.1%
6.8%
5.0%
3.3%
2.8%
2.1%
4
Jewish Population Dynamics
1170
1300
1400
1490
0.002
…
…
…
Mesopotamia, Persia
0.8-1.0
__
__
0.25-0.35
Egypt, North Africa
0.07
__
__
0.005
Syria
0.02
__
__
0.007
Balkans, Eastern Europe
0.047
0.065
__
0.09
Western Europe
0.103
0.385
__
0.510
1.2-1.5
__
__
0.8-1
70
__
__
87.5
1.6%
__
__
1%
Land of Israel
Total Jewish Population
Total Population
Jewish as % of total pop
5
Jewish occupational transition
Time
Location
1 – 400
750 - 900
Farmers
(%)
Crafts, Trade,
Money lending (%)
Land of Israel
85-90
10-15
Mesopotamia
85-90
10-15
Egypt
70-80
20-30
Syria
85-90
10-15
Asia Minor and Balkans
40-50
50-60
Western Europe
70-80
20-30
Land of Israel
20-30
70-80
Mesopotamia
10-20
80-90
Egypt
10-20
80-90
Syria
10-20
80-90
Asia Minor and Balkans
10-20
80-90
1-5
95-99
Western Europe
6
Ch. 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 8
Ch. 9
70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and
How Did They Live?
Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?
The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200
The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a
World of Farmers
Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few
From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150
Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250
Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders,
1000–1500
The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and
Urban Economies Collapse
Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions
7
The Chosen Few: Why?
• Jewish Population Dynamics
65 C.E. - 1492 from 5.5 to 1 M
Common answer: “Jews were oppressed and
persecuted…”
• Occupational Selection 750-900 to today
Common answer: “Restrictions on minority…”
• Jewish Diaspora and Minority Status
Common answer: “ Jews were forced to leave…”
8
Why are the Jews
merchants, urban dwellers,
entrepreneurs, money lenders
and doctors?
Economic Restrictions
(e.g., Cecil Roth)
Persecutions & Portable Human Capital
The Economics of Small Minorities
(e.g., Brenner & Keefer)
(e.g., Weber ; Kuznets; Slezkine)
9
Is there a common factor
behind the three historical patterns?
Our answer
A shift in the religious norm after 70
brought these long-term economic and
demographic outcomes
12
Ch. 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 8
Ch. 9
70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and
How Did They Live?
Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?
The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E. – 200
The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a
World of Farmers
Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few
From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150
Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250
Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders,
1000–1500
The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and
Urban Economies Collapse
Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions
13
First “historical accident”, 70
200 BCE – 70
70
70 – 200
Many religious groups
(Sadducees, Pharisees,
Essenes, Zealots)
Temple in Jerusalem
destroyed by Romans
Leadership of rabbis
Pharisees: stress the
study of Written and
Oral Torah (Law)
Pharisees became
religious leaders
The Mishna (c. 200)
6 volumes of rules
for daily life
About 64
Religious norm: fathers
must send sons to school
to learn the Torah
Sacrifices replaced
with study of the
Torah in synagogue
From 200
ammei ha-aretz (illiterate
people) considered outcast
14
First “historical accident”, 70
200 BCE – 70
70
70 – 200
Many religious groups
(Sadducees, Pharisees,
Essenes, Zealots)
Temple in Jerusalem
destroyed by Romans
Leadership of rabbis
Pharisees: stress the
study of Written and
Oral Torah (Law)
Pharisees became
religious leaders
The Mishna (c. 200)
6 volumes of rules
for daily life
About 64
Religious norm: fathers
must send sons to school
to learn the Torah
Sacrifices replaced
with study of the
Torah in synagogue
From 200
ammei ha-aretz (illiterate
people) considered outcast
15
First “historical accident”, 70
200 BCE – 70
70
70 – 200
Many religious groups
(Sadducees, Pharisees,
Essenes, Zealots)
Temple in Jerusalem
destroyed by Romans
Leadership of rabbis
Pharisees: stress the
study of Written and
Oral Torah (Law)
Pharisees became
religious leaders
The Mishna (c. 200)
6 volumes of rules
for daily life
About 64
Religious norm: fathers
must send sons to school
to learn the Torah
Sacrifices replaced
with study of the
Torah in synagogue
From 200
ammei ha-aretz (illiterate
people) considered outcast
16
Ch. 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 8
Ch. 9
70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and
How Did They Live?
Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?
The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200
The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a
World of Farmers
Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few
From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150
Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250
Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders,
1000–1500
The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and
Urban Economies Collapse
Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions
17
Based on economic theory: What are the
implications of the change in religious norms?
•
•
•
•
Model: Hebrew literacy has no economic returns for subsistence
farmers but religious (utility) returns for Jews. School is costly.
Jewish farmers decide whether to send boys to school (synagogue)
and whether to convert to other religions
Jews are heterogeneous in religiosity, income, ability, etc.
Result 1: Some Jewish farmers educate their boys.
Non-Jews farmers do not educate their boys.
Cost of education cause some Jewish farmers to convert - Who? low
attachment, low ability, low income: ammei-haaretz…
• Implication: In the long run Judaism cannot survive in a
subsistence farming society.
18
Model (continued)
• Result 2: Jewish farmers who learn in
synagogue to read (write) have a comparative
advantage in occupations and locations in
which reading, writing contracts and
communication have high economic returns.
19
Testable implications on conversions
and Jewish population dynamics
At a given point in time:
• Heterogeneity among Jews (x, γ, θ, e), some Jewish farmers
do not educate their children and convert
• More conversions occur when aggregate economic conditions
are bad (low wF, high τrF) and in small communities (high
γ)
• In the long-run, Judaism cannot survive in a subsistence
farming society as Jewish farming population is decreasing.
• Reduction in Jewish population can be halted:
1. with increased demand for literate occupations: Expansion of
urbanization and trade
2. with migrations to opportunities
25
Ch. 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 8
Ch. 9
70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and
How Did They Live?
Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?
The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200
The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a
World of Farmers
Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few
From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150
Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250
Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders,
1000–1500
The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and
Urban Economies Collapse
Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions
26
Jews in the Talmud Era (200-650): The Chosen Few
[children’s education]
• In subsistence farming economy: investment
in children's education is a costly religious
sacrifice with no economic return
• A typical family’s budget in Roman Palestine
– food expenses = 40-50%
– taxes
= 30%
– little was left to buy clothing, books, paying
teachers and build synagogue
27
Cost of living (in denarii), 1st-3rd centuries
Items in a household budget
Land
of Israel
Egypt
Babylon
Monthly wage of agricultural worker
24-48
4-32
72-96
Monthly wage of urban skilled worker
48-72
6-40
---
2-10
10-20
5-10
100-200
15-100
Suit/cloak
30
---
Monthly rent of a house
4
---
200
---
Monthy wage of boy on farm work
Monthly bread expenses (family of four)
Cattle (ox or cow)
Book
80-120
Source: Sperber (1965; 1967)
28
Despite being costly, primary
education/literacy became spread in Jewish
communities from 200 to 650
EVIDENCE
Many rulings in the Talmud on school and teacher - Judaism
unique
Archeological findings on synagogues
Growth of academies in Babylon: more students with primary
education
The Kallah
From 6th century: Responsa
29
Sample of synagogues, ca. 200-500
Century
Locations
3rd
Bar’am, Gush Halav, Horvat, Horvat Shema, Kefar Kana,
Nevoraya, En-Gedi, Eshtemoa
3rd -4th
Chorazin, Gush Halav, Hammat Gader, Hammath Tiberias,
Khirbet Shema, Maoz Hayyim, Meiron, Nabratein, Rehov,
Horvat Sumaqa, Horvat Rimmon
4th
Arbel, Capernaum, Horvat ha-Amudin, Meroth, Beth Alpha,
Beth Shean, Maoz Hayim, Gaza, Horvat Susiya, Naaran,
Zuminra
3rd, 5th
Anim, Aphik, Dabbura, Kefar Hananiah
5th
Assalieh, En Neshut, Horvat Kanef, Katzrin, Huseifa, Hirbet
Amudin, Yaifia, Sepphoris
30
Jews in the Talmud Era (200-650): The Chosen Few
[conversions]
• Evidence from population dynamics, c. 1-650
• Evidence from literary and epigraphic sources, 1-325
• Evidence from literary sources, 325-650
31
Great revolt, Temple (70) Revolt in Egypt (115)
Bar Kokhba revolt (135)
65
100
150
300
550
650
Land of Israel
2.5
1.8
1.2
0.5
0.2
0.1
Mesopotamia
1
1
1-1.2
1-1.2
0.8-1
0.7-0.9
Egypt
1
0.8-1
0.5
__
__
0.004
Syria
0.2-0.4
many
some
few
few
0.005
Asia Minor
0.2-0.4
many
some
few
few
0.040
Eastern Europe
__
__
__
__
__
__
Western Europe
0.1-0.2
some
some
few
few
0.001
Total Jewish Pop
5-5.5
4.3-4.5
3.1-3.3
1.9-2.1
1.2-1.5
1-1.2
Total Population
54.9
57
58
56.4
47.9
51.1
J pop / total pop
9.1%
6.8%
5.0%
3.3%
2.8%
2.1%
32
Jews in the Talmud Era (200-650): The Chosen Few
[conversions]
• Evidence from population dynamics, c. 1-650
• Evidence from literary and epigraphic sources, 1-325
– Locations with Christians included also Jewish populations: Only from
150 Christians were not considered Jewish.
• Evidence from literary sources, 325-650
– Laws protecting Jewish converts
33
Ch. 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 8
Ch. 9
70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and
How Did They Live?
Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?
The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200
The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a
World of Farmers
Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few
From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150
Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250
Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders,
1000–1500
The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and
Urban Economies Collapse
Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions
42
If all Jews were literate in 650,
why were they still farmers in 650?
Given rural subsistence economies in 4th-7th
centuries, literate Jewish farmers could not
find urban skilled occupations
43
Second “historical accident”, c. 632
Mohammed established Islam and set the foundations of one of
the largest, most urban, and commercially developed empires
in history
44
Urbanization expanded in newly established Abbasid Empire
8th – 9th centuries
Baghdad
Samarra
Basra
Cairo
ca. 1170
Palermo
Paris
Seville
Venice
Granada
Cordoba
Total Population
(thousands)
600—1,000
500
200-600
300
150
110
80
70
60
60
45
Jewish occupational transition: WHY?
Time
1 – 400
750 - 900
(it took 150 years --- consistent with other evidence)
Location
Farmers
Urban skilled
occupations (%)
(%)
Land of Israel
85-90
10-15
Mesopotamia
85-90
10-15
Egypt
70-80
20-30
Syria
85-90
10-15
Asia Minor and Balkans
40-50
50-60
Western Europe
70-80
20-30
Land of Israel
20-30
70-80
Mesopotamia
10-20
80-90
Egypt
10-20
80-90
Syria
10-20
80-90
Asia Minor and Balkans
10-20
80-90
1-5
95-99
Western Europe
46
Why almost all Jews became urban dwellers
(750 to 900)?
The Economic Return to Jewish Religious literacy
• Literacy: knowledge of one language – Hebrew – enable to
learn other languages (Hebrew-Arabic, Hebrew-French,
Ladino, Yiddish) based on Geniza documents.
• Language enables to write commercial contracts and loans
across locations. Jewish law enables to implement
agreements.
• The common language enables to expand mail network for
religious, family and commercial contacts based on Jewish
law and community penalties (Greif).
• The language enables Jewish artisans to write contracts for
the production of shoes, clothes and other personal items
47
The theory of Jewish merchant: education and
conversion
•
•
Assumption: Merchants income increases from theirs and
their son education
Merchant's budget constraint:
c + γ(es)θ + τrM ≤ wF (1 + Aesα e1-α)
Results:
• Education: Jewish merchants invest more than non-Jewish
merchants in children's education. WHY?
• Conversion:
(i) If taxes for Jewish and non-Jewish merchant are the same
– no Jewish merchant will convert.
(ii) Over time, the proportion of merchants among Jews will
increase.
48
Education: tons of evidence from Genizah and Responsa (9001250) of almost 100% literacy among Jews.
No or few conversions of Jews from 700 to 1200
Jewish Population Dynamics
c. 650
c. 1170
0.1
0.002
Mesopotamia and Persia
0.7-0.9
0.8-1.0
Egypt and North Africa
0.004
0.07
Syria
0.005
0.015
Balkans, eastern Europe
0.047
0.047
Western Europe
0.005
0.103
Total Jewish Population
1-1.2
1.2-1.5
Total Population
51.1
70
J as % of total pop
2.1%
1.6%
Land of Israel
50
Ch. 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 8
Ch. 9
70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and
How Did They Live?
Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?
The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200
The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a
World of Farmers
Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few
From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150
Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250
Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders,
1000–1500
The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and
Urban Economies Collapse
Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions
51
Voluntary Diaspora
Migrations of Jewish *skills*, ca. 800-1250
• Main insight from the model
Judaism can survive in the long run only if Jews can
find occupations with high returns to their
investment in education
• Historical evidence
The voluntary migrations of Jewish people between
800 and 1250 support this argument
52
Migrations within the Muslim Empire (800-1100)
voluntary and free
• Jewish craftsmen, traders, physicians, scholars from Mesopotamia
and Persia settled in Syria, Egypt, Maghreb, Spain, and Sicily
• The “golden age” of Jewish history
Migrations to western Europe (850-1250)
voluntary and regulated
• Jews migrated to England, Flanders, France, Germany, Italy upon
invitation by local rulers --- wealthy communities in hundreds of
towns
• Because of high human capital and skills, Jews viewed as essential
for economic growth
• No restrictions on Jewish economic activities
53
Sample of Medieval Charters
Country
City
Spain
Barcelona
France
England
Germany
Year of
charter
Own
Land
Trade
Money
Lending
1053-1071
yes
yes
yes
Tudela
1116
silent
yes
yes
Toledo
1222
yes
yes
yes
Valencia
1250
yes
yes
yes
---
820
yes
yes
silent
---
1190
silent
silent
yes
---
1120, 1170
yes
yes
yes
---
1275
yes
yes
no
Speyer
1084, 1090
yes
yes
yes
Worms
1074
silent
yes
silent
Worms
1090, 1157
yes
yes
yes
Ratisbon
1182, 1216,
1230
yes
yes
silent
54
The zenith of the Jewish Diaspora
From the travel itinerary of Benjamin de Tudela (c. 1170)
• In Muslim Mesopotamia and Persia: 70 percent of world Jewry
• Muslim Iberian Peninsula: wealthy Jewish communities in
hundreds of cities and towns (Sephardim)
• France, England, Germany: prominent Jewish communities in
hundreds of locations (Ashkenazim)
• Jewish communities all over Italy, Bohemia, eastern Europe,
Turkey, the Middle East, Egypt, the Maghreb, all the way to
central Asia, China, and India
55
56
Genetic distance and conversions
• Contemporary Jewish populations show a closer genetic
link to Jews from far away locations than to their
neighboring non-Jewish populations
• Especially the Ashkenazi Jews of eastern Europe are
genetically closer to Jews from the Middle East and North
Africa, as well as to other Middle Eastern non-Jewish
populations, than to eastern European non-Jewish
populations
• This provides additional and independent evidence that
there were no significant conversions to, and out of,
Judaism once the Jews became merchants and migrated to
western and then eastern Europe
57
Ch. 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 8
Ch. 9
70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and
How Did They Live?
Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?
The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200
The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a
World of Farmers
Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few
From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150
Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250
Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders,
1000–1500
The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and
Urban Economies Collapse
Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions
58
Why Money Lending?
• Money lending is another form of commerce –
highly sophisticated; need contracts; enforcement;
arbitration; capital.
• High interest rates on short term lending.
• Arbitrage among locations.
• High risk and high return
• Permits and taxes to rulers – set in Privileges.
Was it due to land restrictions? NO!
Was it due to usury bans on Christians?
59
Time
Location
325
Roman Empire
Church prohibits clergy from charging interests on loans
500-1100
Europe
Church extends usury ban to the laity --- ban not enforced
650-1250
Muslim Empire Qur’an prohibits Moslems from charging interest on loans
750 – 900
Mesopotamia
and Persia
Jews left farming, moved to urban centers, and entered
nearly 450 occupations (crafts, trade, moneylending)
850-1250
Europe
Jews migrated from the Middle East to Europe as urban
dwellers specialized in crafts, trade, and money lending
From 1100
Europe
Jews became prominent in moneylending. Jewish scholars
(e.g., Rashi ) issued many rulings to regulate money
lending during 11th and 12th centuries
1200-1350
1200-1350
1350-1550
Europe
Europe
Europe
Church strictly enforces usury ban on Christians
Craft and merchant guilds began growing
Guilds dominated manufacturing and commerce
1350-1500
Europe
Restrictions on Jewish land ownership in some charters
60
Ch 1
Jewish population, locations, and occupations
Ch 2
A persecuted minority?
Ch 3
The people of the book (c. 200 BCE — 200 CE)
Ch 4
The economics of Hebrew literacy in a world of farmers
Ch 5
Jews in the Talmud era (200-650 CE): the chosen few
Ch 6
From farmers to merchants (c. 750-900)
Ch 7
The educated wandering Jew (c. 800-1258)
Ch 8
From merchants to moneylenders: selection or segregation?
Ch 9
The Mongol shock: Can Judaism survive when trade and
urban economies collapse?
Ch 10 1492 to today: open questions
61
Third “Historical Accident”, 1258
The Mongol Shock
(Could the Jews be farmers in the long-run?)
• The Mongols invaded Persia (earliest 1220) and
Mesopotamia in 1256-1260 and destroyed the urban
economy
• Because of massacres, starvation, epidemics, total
population was reduced by half
• Jewish population shrank from about 800 thousands
to nearly 200-300 thousands
62
Jewish Population Dynamics
1170
1300
1400
1490
0.002
…
…
…
Mesopotamia, Persia
0.8-1.0
__
__
0.25-0.35
Egypt, North Africa
0.07
__
__
0.005
Syria
0.02
__
__
0.007
Balkans, Eastern Europe
0.047
0.065
__
0.09
Western Europe
0.103
0.385
__
0.510
1.2-1.5
__
__
0.8-1
70
__
__
87.5
1.6%
__
__
1%
Land of Israel
Total Jewish Population
Total Population
Jewish as % of total pop
63
• No evidence they migrated in huge numbers to western
Europe (migrations to Europe were regulated)
• Death rate from starvation and epidemics similar to
local population
• Jewish death toll from massacres by Mongols was
lower
• The much larger reduction in Jewish population in
Muslim Middle East was the outcome of voluntary
conversions
Conversions among low-income Jews when the
economy became a subsistence farming economy
support our main insight
64
Ch. 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 8
Ch. 9
70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and
How Did They Live?
Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?
The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200
The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a
World of Farmers
Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few
From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150
Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250
Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders,
1000–1500
The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and
Urban Economies Collapse
Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions
65
1492 to Today: Open Questions
• Circa 1492
world Jewry: less than 1 million people
– 450,000 Sephardim
(urban skilled occupations)
Spain, North Africa, Greece, Turkey, Middle East, Iraq, Persia
– 450,000 Ashkenazim
(urban skilled occupations)
– Germany, Netherlands, Italy, eastern Europe, Russia
• Circa 1938
world Jewry: about 16.5 million
– 2.2 million Sephardic Jews
– 14.3 million Ashkenazi Jews
(spectacular growth in eastern Europe)
• Why this divergent demographic trend?
66
Kuznets (1963): An economic puzzle?
Country
Year
% Jews in
Non-agricultural
% Non-Jews in
Non-agricultural
jobs
jobs
Poland
1931
96
47
Soviet Union
1926
96
27
United States
1940
98
82
Latvia
1930
99
47
Germany
1933
99
83
Czechoslovakia
1930
91
73
Hungary
1930
97
52
Rumania
1930
96
37
Bulgaria
1926
99
31
Canada
1931
99
71
67
1492 to Today: Open Questions
• Jews make 0.2 percent of the world population, and …
– 54 percent of the world chess champions
– 27 percent of the Nobel physics laureates
– 31 percent of the medicine laureates
Jews are 2 percent of US population, and …
–
–
–
–
–
21 percent of the Ivy League students bodies
26 percent of the Kennedy Center honorees
37 percent of Academy Award winning directors
38 percent of those on a recent Business Week list of leading philanthropists
51 percent of the Pulitzer Prize winners for nonfiction
• Why this persistence in economic and intellectual success?
68
Why are the Jews
a small population of
merchants, entrepreneurs,
bankers, financiers, physicians,
lawyers, university professors?
(… Rothschild, Ricardo, etc)
69
1492 to Today: Open Questions
Nowadays, world Jewry is about 13 million people
40% in the United States
(A)
15% in western Europe
(A)
5% in the rest of the world
(A)
40% in Israel
(B)
– Jews in (A) display occupational selection (high-skill jobs) and have higher
earnings than the rest of the population
– Jews in (B) have occupational structure similar to that of any small
European country or that of the general population of the United States
• Why this different occupational and earning structure?
70
A growing literature
Interactions
cultural values
religious rules
social norms
→
economic outcomes
– Barro & McCleary; Guiso, Sapienza, and Zingales; Iannaccone; Becker &
Woesserman
– Doepke & Zilibotti
– Greif; Mokyr; Temin; Tabellini
71
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The Black Death of 1348: Short-Term versus Long