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The Chosen Few Ninth CSEF-IGIER Symposium on Economics and Institutions (CISEI) 26/06/2013 Capri. Ch. 1 70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and How Did They Live ? Ch. 2 Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority? Ch. 3 The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E. – 200

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The Chosen Few

Ninth CSEF-IGIER Symposium on Economics and Institutions (CISEI)

26/06/2013 Capri


Ch. 1 70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and How Did They Live?

Ch. 2 Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?

Ch. 3 The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200

Ch. 4 The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a World of Farmers

Ch. 5 Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few

Ch. 6From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150

Ch. 7 Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250

Ch. 8 Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders, 1000–1500

Ch. 9 The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and Urban Economies Collapse

Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions


We document three puzzles
We document three puzzles

  • Jewish population dynamics

    60-600 decreased 5.5 to 1.5 M

    1250-1500 decreased 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*




Ch. 1 70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and How Did They Live?

Ch. 2 Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?

Ch. 3 The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200

Ch. 4 The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a World of Farmers

Ch. 5 Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few

Ch. 6From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150

Ch. 7 Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250

Ch. 8 Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders, 1000–1500

Ch. 9 The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and Urban Economies Collapse

Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions


The chosen few why
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…”


Why are the jews merchants urban dwellers entrepreneurs money lenders and doctors
Why are the Jews merchants, urban dwellers, entrepreneurs, money lenders and doctors?

Economic Restrictions(e.g., Cecil Roth)

Persecutions & Portable Human Capital(e.g., Brenner & Keefer)

The Economics of Small Minorities(e.g., Weber ; Kuznets; Slezkine)


Is there a common factor behind the three historical patterns
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


Ch. 1 70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and How Did They Live?

Ch. 2 Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?

Ch. 3 The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E. – 200

Ch. 4 The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a World of Farmers

Ch. 5 Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few

Ch. 6From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150

Ch. 7 Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250

Ch. 8 Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders, 1000–1500

Ch. 9 The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and Urban Economies Collapse

Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions





Ch. 1 70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and How Did They Live?

Ch. 2 Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?

Ch. 3 The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200

Ch. 4 The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a World of Farmers

Ch. 5 Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few

Ch. 6From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150

Ch. 7 Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250

Ch. 8 Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders, 1000–1500

Ch. 9 The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and Urban Economies Collapse

Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions


Based on economic theory what are the implications of the change in religious norms
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.


Model continued
Model (continued) change in religious norms?

  • 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.


Testable implications on conversions and jewish population dynamics
Testable implications on conversions change in religious norms?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:

  • with increased demand for literate occupations: Expansion of urbanization and trade

    2. with migrations to opportunities


Ch. change in religious norms?1 70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and How Did They Live?

Ch. 2 Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?

Ch. 3 The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200

Ch. 4 The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a World of Farmers

Ch. 5 Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few

Ch. 6From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150

Ch. 7 Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250

Ch. 8 Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders, 1000–1500

Ch. 9 The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and Urban Economies Collapse

Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions


Jews in the talmud era 200 650 the chosen few children s education
Jews in the Talmud Era (200-650): change in religious norms?TheChosenFew[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


Cost of living in denarii 1 st 3 rd centuries
Cost of living (in denarii), 1 change in religious norms?st-3rd centuries


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


Sample of synagogues ca 200 500
Sample of synagogues, ca. 200-500 spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650


Jews in the Talmud Era (200-650): spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650 TheChosen Few[conversions]

  • Evidence from population dynamics, c. 1-650

  • Evidence from literary and epigraphic sources, 1-325

  • Evidence from literary sources, 325-650


Revolt in Egypt (115) spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650

Great revolt, Temple (70)

Bar Kokhba revolt (135)


Jews in the Talmud Era (200-650): spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650 TheChosen 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


Ch. spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650 1 70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and How Did They Live?

Ch. 2 Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?

Ch. 3 The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200

Ch. 4 The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a World of Farmers

Ch. 5 Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few

Ch. 6From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150

Ch. 7 Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250

Ch. 8 Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders, 1000–1500

Ch. 9 The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and Urban Economies Collapse

Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions


If all jews were literate in 650 why were they still farmers in 650
If all Jews were literate in 650, spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 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


Second historical accident c 632
Second “historical accident”, c. 632 spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650

Mohammed established Islam and set the foundations of one of the largest, most urban, and commercially developed empires in history


Urbanization expanded in newly established abbasid empire
Urbanization expanded in newly established Abbasid Empire spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650


Jewish occupational transition why it took 150 years consistent with other evidence
Jewish occupational transition: WHY? spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650 (it took 150 years --- consistent with other evidence)


Why almost all jews became urban dwellers 750 to 900
Why almost all Jews became urban dwellers (750 to 900)? spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650

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.

  • Languageenables to write commercial contracts and loans across locations. Jewish lawenables to implement agreements.

  • The common language enables to expand mail network for religious, family andcommercial contactsbased on Jewish law and community penalties (Greif).

  • The language enablesJewish artisans to write contractsfor the production of shoes, clothes and other personal items


The theory of jewish merchant education and conversion
The theory of Jewish merchant: education and conversion spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650

  • 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:

  • 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.


Education spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650 : tons of evidence from Genizah and Responsa (900-1250) of almost 100% literacy among Jews.

No or few conversions of Jews from 700 to 1200


Ch. spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650 1 70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and How Did They Live?

Ch. 2 Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?

Ch. 3 The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200

Ch. 4 The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a World of Farmers

Ch. 5 Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few

Ch. 6From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150

Ch. 7 Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250

Ch. 8 Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders, 1000–1500

Ch. 9 The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and Urban Economies Collapse

Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions


Voluntary diaspora migrations of jewish skills ca 800 1250
Voluntary Diaspora spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650 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


Migrations within the Muslim Empire (800-1100) spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650

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


Sample of medieval charters
Sample of Medieval Charters spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650


The zenith of the jewish diaspora
The zenith of the Jewish Diaspora spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650

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


Genetic distance and conversions
Genetic distance and conversions spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650

  • 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


Ch. spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650 1 70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and How Did They Live?

Ch. 2 Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?

Ch. 3 The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200

Ch. 4 The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a World of Farmers

Ch. 5 Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few

Ch. 6From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150

Ch. 7 Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250

Ch. 8 Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders, 1000–1500

Ch. 9 The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and Urban Economies Collapse

Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions


Why money lending
Why Money Lending? spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650

  • 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?


Ch 1 Jewish population, locations, and occupations spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650

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


Third historical accident 1258 the mongol shock could the jews be farmers in the long run
Third “Historical Accident”, 1258 spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650 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


Jewish population dynamics1
Jewish Population Dynamics spread in Jewish communities from 200 to 650


  • 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 subsistencefarming economy support our main insight


Ch. (migrations to Europe were regulated) 1 70 C.E. to 1492: How Many Jews Were There and Where and How Did They Live?

Ch. 2 Were the Jews a Persecuted Minority?

Ch. 3 The People of the Book, 200 B.C.E.–200

Ch. 4 The Economics of Hebrew Literacy in a World of Farmers

Ch. 5 Jews in the Talmud Era, 200–650: The Chosen Few

Ch. 6From Farmers to Merchants, 750–1150

Ch. 7 Educated Wandering Jews, 800–1250

Ch. 8 Segregation or Choice? From Merchants to Moneylenders, 1000–1500

Ch. 9 The Mongol Shock: Can Judaism Survive When Trade and Urban Economies Collapse

Ch. 10 1492 to Today: Open Questions


1492 to today open questions
1492 to Today: Open Questions (migrations to Europe were regulated)

  • 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?


1492 to today open questions1
1492 to Today: Open Questions (migrations to Europe were regulated)

  • 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?


Why are the Jews a small population of merchants, entrepreneurs, bankers, financiers, physicians, lawyers, university professors?(… Rothschild, Ricardo, etc)


1492 to today open questions2
1492 to Today: Open Questions of

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?


  • A growing literature
    A growing literature of

    Interactions

    cultural values

    religious rules → economic outcomes

    social norms

    • Barro & McCleary; Guiso, Sapienza, and Zingales; Iannaccone; Becker & Woesserman

    • Doepke & Zilibotti

    • Greif; Mokyr; Temin; Tabellini


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