Winners and Losers from the Protestant Reformation: An Analysis of the Network of European Universities

David de La Croix (Université Catholique de Louvain)

June 9, 2022, 11:00–12:30

Room Auditorium 4

Behavior, Institutions, and Development seminar


Using a new database of European academics,we provide a global view of the eect of the Protestant Reformation on the network of universities and on their individual importance within the network (centrality). A connection (edge) between two universities (nodes) is defined by the presence of the same scholar in both universities. Protestantism strongly impacted the structure of the network. Dyadic regressions confirm that geography was important as well, but does not substitute for the effect of religion. We isolate the effect of religion on each university centrality comparing simulated networks with and without religious identity. The reorganization of the network induced by the Reformation harmed Protestant universities less than Catholics. As the number of publications per university is strongly correlated with centrality, our simulations lend credence to the view that the loss of connectedness of the Southern European universities after the (Counter-)Reformation was important in triggering their scientific demise.*