1492 to Today
1492 to Today
This concluding chapter highlights some puzzles that punctuate Jewish history, from the mass expulsion of the Jews from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492–97 to today. A growing number of scholars have been studying the long-term impact of institutions by illustrating that some contemporary economic patterns have been influenced by institutions that emerged centuries ago. This book contributes to this literature by showing that the transition of the Jews from farming into high-skill occupations has also been the outcome of the availability of contract-enforcement institutions shaped by the unique features of the Jewish religion. Meanwhile, social scientists have always been fascinated by the study of religion and by the influence religious values and norms may have on human behavior. Ultimately, the cultural values and social norms that Judaism fostered two millennia ago shaped the demographic and economic history of the Jewish people through today.
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