【Empirical Seminar】Protestantism and Modernization of China, the 19th to 20th centuries

  • 研討會日期 : 2023-12-04
  • 時間 : 14:30
  • 主講人 : Professor Se Yan
  • 地點 : Conference Room B110
  • 演講者簡介 : Professor Se Yan received his PhD from UCLA in 2008. He is currently an Associate Professor at Peking University. His research interests are Economic History and Macroeconomics.
  • 演講摘要 : The talk is a summary of three papers studying the different aspects of the spread of Protestantism and its impact on the process of China's transition to a modern nation in the late 19thand early 20th centuries. We digitize a county-level data set on Protestant presence in 1920. In the first paper, we use the frequency of historical disasters as an instrument for Protestant distribution, and find that the spread of Protestantism has contributed to China's economic growth in 2000. Furthermore, we find that although improvements in education and health care outcomes account for a large part of missionaries' influences, other channels, such as transformed social values, might also contributed to the long-term effects. In the second paper, using the financial reports of about 125,000 Chinese industrial firms from 1999 to 2007, we find significant effects of historical Protestant activities on current corporate tax avoidance. We then use disaster frequency as the instrumental variable to establish causality. Analysis of the CFPS data and a peer-to-peer lending dataset with more than one million borrowers shows that people from cities with more historical Protestant activities tend to trust others more and have better credit records. In the third paper, we hand collecta dataset of college students from 1928-1938, and find that the Protestant missions improved gender equality in higher education. Our analysis further shows that counties with earlier missionary settlements had higher levels of gender equality. We adopt an IV strategy that exploits the quasi-random variation in counties' distances to treaty ports opened by 1880, and find that the increase in educational attainment led to a higher number of female doctors and civil servants in the short run and a higher gender ratio in skilled occupations in the long run. If so, then a significant amount of China’s growth since 1978 is the result not just of sudden institutional changes but of human capital and social values acquired over a longer historical period.